Saturday, November 08, 2008

Old-guard, New-guard

In the wake of the presidential election, who now speaks for American evangelicals? Will the generation of James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Chuck Colson be replaced with a new cohort? Does the Democratic victory signal the end of the Religious Right as we know it? Will the Obama presidency give credence to left-leaning evangelical leaders such as Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, and megachurch pastors such as Joel Hunter, both of whom personally know the president-elect?

....Is the Obama presidency the final nail in the coffin for the Religious Right? Don’t count on it. For one thing, political movements like the Religious Right don’t need a “god” to succeed, but they do need a devil. Nothing builds allegiances among a coalition like a common enemy....

Whatever happens in the months ahead, three things are certain. A new cohort of public figures will emerge, each claiming to represent American evangelicals. President-elect Obama will appoint a few of them to his administration, but none to high office. Second, the public disdain for the evangelical “brand” will subside a good bit as Bush-era religious conservatives fade from attention. Finally, by next fall, the Religious Right will solidify its support behind two or three newer figures as they seek to remake the movement’s public image.
[via The Immanent Frame, HT: Notes From Off-Center]

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