Joanna Tice-Jen

Joanna Tice-Jen defended her PhD dissertation, “Thine is the Kingdom: The Political Thought of 21st Century Evangelicalism,” in August 2016 at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is currently serving as a Postdoctoral Editorial Fellow with the Committee for the Study of Religion at the Graduate Center. Her research interests are primarily in American political thought, with a dual focus on religio-political identities and the intersection of inequality and race.

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Monday, November 7th, 2016

On “beyond Trump”: Evangelical politics, born again

MercyMe by Flicker user susieq3cSurvey data indicates a growing generational split among evangelicals, with the younger generation supporting a range of left-leaning policies that their parents and grandparents vehemently opposed. These young evangelicals are interested in environmentalism, alleviating global poverty, fighting the AIDS epidemic, and supporting LGBT rights, while continuing a generally conservative tack on abortion, national defense, and capital punishment. Although, even those core issues are sometimes thrown into question. Furthermore, young evangelicals are more ethnically diverse than previous generations, which also works to shift their politics to the left on most issues.

Historically, this is not a surprising shift, as the story of evangelical America supplies ample precedents for an evangelical leadership that throws their weight behind leftist causes: “the old fashioned gospel” of the Gilded Age; the “social gospel” of the Progressive Era; and the political preaching and religiously-infused activist rhetoric of black evangelical pastors during the civil rights era. Furthermore, since the 1970s, the dominance of the Christian right has always been countered by progressive evangelical denominations and organizations, such as Sojourners and Messiah College. While the forces of the evangelical left will not reach a critical mass in this week’s election, it seems inevitable that they will make their presence known four years from now, if not in earlier congressional and local races.

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