The Changing Face of American Evangelicalism
They are unhappy that the church's message has been, too often, compromised or ridiculed because of party-political alliances. They call for a radical re-think of the church's approach to culture, technology, human relationships and the political establishment. Instead of a focus on narrow religious or political agendas, they argue that the church should campaign for the common good of society -- standing up for the rights of others, particularly the poor and the marginalised; they are passionate about the need to develop civility in political discourse, where citizens can fundamentally disagree about some basic issues in a spirit of respect while building coalitions on common interest. And, perhaps most significantly, they are standing up against the idea that Christians should seek to build a theocracy.
Instead, this new generation of Christian leader advocates a kind of 'principled pluralism', where difference is protected and respected under the law. That means that you don't outlaw another person's perspective or life-choices simply because they fail to comply with your own theological perspective.
The consequence of this is that the issues that matter to many of those I met today are not the issues that defined evangelicalism in the past. Creationism is not their concern, nor are they particularly animated about homosexuality or climate-change denial. Instead, they care deeply about defeating poverty, extending rights to minority groups (such as illegal immigrants), and taking a stand against human trafficking.
It will be fascinating to see how this new kind of evangelicalism finds its voice during what many predict will be the ugliest and most partisan presidential election in living memory.