The Common Good

How the evangelical vote is shifting, as illustrated by the GOP field

Date: February 27, 2012

Here’s one force that is changing Christian views, at least on a national stage:

(Sojourners communications director Tim) King agrees with Abrams that evangelicals no longer view Catholicism unfavorably, but he said another huge shift is also changing attitudes.

“Right now, if you’re a Christian denomination in this country and you aren’t growing among immigrant populations, then you’re dying,” he said, adding a switch in which white believers are coming to grips with both a country and a church that could soon become majority minority , at least in some places.

This is influencing their politics and views on faith, he said.

King pointed to an Alabama immigration conference at Southern Baptist-affiliated Stamford University where he said the general conversation is to the left of every GOP candidate currently in the race. In Scripture, you could argue that Israel’s Old Testament wandering contributed to a keen compassion for the immigrant and the outsider. Even Jesus’ family had to flee to Egypt, King notes, adding that many Christians are now picking up on this mandate to care for the immigrant.

Then there’s the Christian youth. Contrary to myth, King argues they’re not disengaged or less concerned about “moral” issues than their parents. Instead, they care about a different set of issues like poverty and human trafficking. But here’s the rub: Many are frustrated by Obama yet barely hear anything that interests them in the Republican field.