Time Magazine's Top Ten Religion Stories: Right on New Evangelicals, Wrong on the Economy

By Jim Wallis 12-10-2008

Time magazine just released its "Top Ten of Everything in 2008." "The Birth of the New Evangelicalism" came in at #7 on the top religion stories. The article is a big encouragement for all of us at Sojourners; here is an excerpt:

For decades leaders like Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and Ron Sider have pressed their movement to extend its concern beyond classic issues of individual sin to questions like economic inequality, material aid overseas and the environment. But this year others took up their prophetic calls in response to Democratic blandishments, Bush-fatigue and an increasingly vocal youth generation that finds its church unduly pushy on issues like homosexuality. The new trend is hardly cohesive, and evangelical opposition to abortion has, if anything, increased. But powerful pastors like Florida's Joel Hunter and California's Rick Warren are pressing the culture beyond the narrow concerns of the religious Right.

I do, however, have to take issue with Time's #1 story in this category, "The Economy Trumps Religion." The short piece argues that voters ignored religious priorities and religious headlines to focus instead on economic issues or "non-religious" issues.

It's not that I was hoping for the inverse, "Religion Trumps the Economy." Either headline would be too simplistic, and both fail to show the nuance and diversity of how religious voters cast their ballots this election. For many Christian's, the economy did not "trump religion" but rather, their religion gave them something to say about the economy. If anything has been "trumped" this year, it is religion that focuses on narrow culture war issues and does not speak to the whole person.

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