Though politically important during key periods of American history, evangelicals on the left have lost much of the influence they wielded as abolitionists or as advocates for safe working conditions during the 19th century. The history of progressive evangelicals has been full of disappointments, notably declining as the “religious right” rose to prominence in the 1980s. These years ensured that in common parlance, “evangelical” is now a synonym for “conservative.” The continuing dominance of the “moral majority,” and the current nature of partisan politics in the U.S., ensures that Christians who are concerned about social justice issues are minimized in national debates.
When I announced my plans to go to Jordan several weeks ago for a press trip, my son replied, "You are the only person wanting to go to the Middle East right now." That was several weeks ago when people were fleeing from Egypt and Tunisia. And he was right, my plane to Jordan was less than half full.