The Common Good

The New Evangelical Agenda

Date: November 15, 2012

The day after the election, Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler said, "I think this was an evangelical disaster."

Not really. But it was a disaster for the religious right, which had again tied its faith to the partisan political agenda of the Republican Party -- which did lose the election. But Nov. 6 was an even deeper disaster for the religious right's leaders, because they will no longer be able to control or easily co-opt the meaning of the term "evangelical."

During this election, much of the media continued to use the word as a political term -- as a key constituency of the Republican conservative base. But what the media really means when they use term "evangelical" is "conservative white evangelical." All other kinds of evangelicals are just never counted.

Just as the 2012 electoral results finally revealed the demographic transformation of America -- which has been occurring for quite some time -- it also dramatically demonstrated how the meaning of the word "evangelical" is being transformed.

Evangelical can no longer be accurately used to mean "white evangelical."