The New Evangelicals: Activism & Voting
By Marcia Pally
Humboldt University, Berlin
May 31, 2012
I’d like to begin by telling you a bit about how I came to be here today. In 2005, I was looking at evangelicals—practices, publications, sermons, websites, activism—for another project when I noticed something: no less a publication than Christianity Today wrote, “George W. Bush is not Lord… The American flag is not the Cross. The Pledge of Allegiance is not the Creed. ‘God Bless America’ is not Doxology.” The magazine went on to lambaste the conflation of Biblical values with American or Republican ones. In 2006, the Evangelical Environmental Network/Call to Action, launched its “What would Jesus drive” campaign for greater fuel efficiency. In 2007, the National Association of Evangelicals issued its “Evangelical Declaration against Torture.” In 2010-2011, it repeatedly protested against Republican budget cuts for the needy, writing, “this is the wrong place to cut.”
What I was seeing was a shift in evangelical activism across the country, across denominations, and demographic groups towards an anti-militarist, anti-consumerist focus on poverty relief, environmental protection, immigration reform, and racial/religious reconciliation—and on listening, cooperation, and coalition-building. Seven or so years of field research followed, from New York to Mississippi, from Georgia to Idaho, where I talked to people ages 19 to 74 and visited churches—like one which spends $1.5 million/year on social justice projects, or the Midwestern church whose programs address substance abuse, the homeless, free food and clothing distribution, care for the elderly, prison ministries, affordable housing, and projects overseas on environmental protection, disease reduction, education, and job training.
I met people like the pastor’s wife who told me, “There’s no pew gum here; anyone can pray in our church but if you’re going to be an active member, there’s going to be a social-justice piece.” And the Iowa office worker (and evangelical) told me, “You know, ‘If you give a person a fish, he’ll eat for a day. If you teach him how to fish, he’ll eat for his whole life.’ But what if they don’t have rights to use the stream, and what if the stream is polluted?… we have to deal with pollution, sustainability, poverty, education, and information together. There is no ‘they’ and ‘us’; there is just ‘we.’”
These “new evangelicals,” as Richard Cizik head of The Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, calls them, are neither small nor elite. By 2004, devout Christians whose views and activism differ from those of the Religious Right came to 24% of the US population. Subtract Catholics and you have 19% or so of devout Protestants who do not identify as religious right. To be sure, not all evangelicals in the past advanced goals associated with the religious right, but it did get a loud microphone for 40 or so years and remains active today. But where there had seemingly been a monovocal evangelicalism there is now robust polyphony—and more issue-by-issue policy assessment. And this is the first idea I’d like to propose—a refinement of our religio-political categories to recognize the diversity of US evangelical politics and activism today.
There are many definitions of evangelicalism, and I’m going to use this synthesis (because if you’re a professor, you have to start with definitions): American evangelicalism was a largely progressive movement and the predominant approach to Protestantism from the colonial era to WWI. Central doctrinal features across denominations include: the search for a renewal of faith toward an “inner” individual and personal relationship with Jesus; the mission to bring others to that relationship in non-coercive ways; the cross as a symbol of salvation but also service and sacrifice; individual acceptance of Jesus’ gift of redemption; individualist Bible reading by ordinary men and woman; and the priesthood of all believers independent of ecclesiastical or state authorities.
From the 18th to the early 20th century, evangelicalism’s anti-authoritarian, individualist emphasis made it anti-elitist, economically populist (anti-banker, anti-landlord), and socially activist on behalf of the common man. The late 19th century saw the rise of the Social Gospel, which tended to the nation’s poor and developed American’s first critique of unregulated, Robber Baron capitalism. Twice in the last century, evangelicals turned towards conservatism, the second time forming the New Right coalition with the Republican party. This affinity held until 2004, but since then many evangelicals, while holding to their traditional theological beliefs, began to shift their activism priorities.
There were, I think, four main reasons for the increased activism in economic justice, environment, and immigration reform: the first is generational, with younger evangelicals rejecting the Prosperity Gospel politics of their parents, which felt materialistic, consumerist, and rigid to idealistic young people. Second are the cultural changes among all evangelicals—not only the youth–since the 1960s. Attitudinal shifts–about the environment, global connectedness, global poverty, and migration–have proceeded not at the radical fringe but in Middle America, and priorities there have shifted.
Still another reason for the shift is ethics amid a group that takes ethics seriously. The militarism and torture of the Bush years as well as the consumerism and in-group-ism of the last forty prodded many evangelicals to self re-examination. David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, for instance, devote their book Unchristian to just this sort of questioning, with chapter titles like “Hypocritical,” “Get Saved!” (an overemphasis on evangelizing), “Antihomosexual,” “Sheltered,” “Too Political,” and “Judgmental.” A fourth reason is the de-professionalization of service work. As ordinary Christians began in increasing numbers to live and serve among the poor in the US, Africa, and Asia and to see the conditions under which so much of the world’s poor live, the priorities of their activism changed more towards economic justice and environmental protection, which, many hold, are closely linked.
No grassroots movement involving millions of people will have one policy or position. But “new evangelical” concerns collect in a few areas.
One is embrace of church-state separation and constitutional law neutral to religion to ensure fair government and religious freedom for all. Listen to this evangelical declaration, “Let it be known unequivocally that we are committed to religious liberty for people of all faiths… We are firmly opposed to the imposition of theocracy on our pluralistic society…. Thus every right we assert for ourselves is at once a right we defend for others. A right for a Christian is a right for a Jew, and a right for a secularist, and a right for a Mormon, and right for a Muslim, and a right for a Scientologist, and right for all the believers in all the faiths across this wide land….” This is from the Evangelical Manifesto, May, 2008, signed by over 70 leaders of American evangelical institutions, including the president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), Leith Anderson, and Mark Bailey, president of the Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas.
Second, is self-identification as civil society actors (neither state actors nor segregated/“bubble societies”) which advocate for their positions through public education, lobbying, coalition-building, and negotiation. Indeed, “new evangelicals” are often engaged more than other citizens in the economic, social, and charitable spheres of American life through the programs they develop, run largely by volunteers, who raise much of the funds as well. The aid programs mentioned earlier are typical of “new evangelical” activism, and I’m going to talk more about them in a moment.
But I’d first like to note that this socio-economic justice emphasis is not limited to younger evangelicals but is certainly strong among them. As Johnny Moore — a young preacher and vice president at Liberty University—recently said, young evangelicals are unimpressed by traditional politics, not attracted to the tea party, and want to address serious “causes” in global poverty and environmental degradation. Today, fully 65% of evangelicals ages 18-30 favor bigger government and more governmental social-service provision, such as Osama’s Affordable Care Act and government aid to the poor. They are, as AP religion writer Eric Gorski found, “even more anti-abortion than their elders” on ethical grounds, “but also keenly interested in the environment and poverty.”
The third feature of “new evangelicalism” is self-identification as a critic of government and political parties when they believe they are unjust. Holding that all governments are fallen, vulnerable to human greed and corruption, they understand the vigilance needed to keep governments honest. This is the “prophetic role” of the church—not to be government but to “speak truth to power.” We saw this in America’s Civil Rights movement, anti-war protests, and now, in support for environmental protection, economic justice, and immigration reform.
Today, I’d like to talk a bit more about the second feature, “new evangelical” economic and environmental programs—beginning with the idea that these are not only alms-giving but the restructuring of opportunity—of education, health care, job training, credit–through a mix of market and common-good practices/whole-life ethics. This mix means that on one hand, “new evangelicals” rely on the individualist, entrepreneurial principles that fostered market development. Yet on the other, they spend much of their time working through the community of church for the community of humankind. That is, they uphold individualist entrepreneurialism in markets, but this commitment makes them entrepreneurs for resource-distribution and opportunity-restructuring for the flourishing of all.
“New evangelicals” come to their belief in both the market and in common good/whole life practices through doctrine. The focus on market principles emerges from the evangelical doctrine of individual, self-responsible striving. While this initially meant striving for moral betterment, striving became a muscle well-exercised and applied to all arenas of life, emphatically to the economic. Do-it-yourself moral uplift became the model and motor for do-it-yourself uplift across the board—for the belief that self-responsible, do-it-yourself-ism makes for the most morally capable person and the most moral society.
In the formative years of evangelicalism, the 16th and 17th centuries, this self-reliance was reinforced by the marginalization and persecution that evangelicals faced as dissenters outside of Europe’s official state churches. After all, the people they might have relied on, like neighbors and the government, persecuted them; better to rely on oneself and one’s like-minded community. And it was reinforced by the rough conditions of American settlement, where one had to do much oneself because there were few authorities or institutions to do it for you. Survival depended on a can-do individualism and voluntarist associationism, community groups that formed to get things done. Churches, like Americans overall, also had few authorities or structures to rely on. Even where colonies had official faiths, parishes were embedded in a hierarchy far flatter than in Europe. They were, in this sparsely-settled land, rather more on their own. In any case, there was little taste for following top-down hierarchies even in the churches, owing to the dissenter’s suspicion of governments and state churches.
With this self-responsible, anti-authoritarian religio-politics, the First Great Awakening, 1730s-40s, was a festival of break-away churches, new-fangled ideas, and innovative preaching by men and women. Over the next century until the Civil War, many evangelicals became progressive, even radical anti-authoritarians–anti-Federalist, anti-banker, anti-landlord/pro-squatter Jeffersonians, and populist Jacksonians. Evangelical associations–innovative and voluntary–became the backbone of America’s civil society. The largest government operation in ante-bellum America was the postal service, but by 1850 evangelical churches had double the employees, twice as many facilities and raised three times as much money.
This tradition of voluntarist do-it-yourself-ism has endured in American evangelicalism, but for “new evangelicals,” the ethos of self-responsibility doesn’t end with the market or one’s own betterment. It directs them to form civil-society institutions so that conditions wrought by the market may be re-wrought when they violate a whole-life ethics or the common good. It’s not that the state is exempt from aiding its citizens. It’s that relying on the state makes people feel exempt. And that is unchristian.
“New evangelicals” come to this also through doctrine. A common good/whole life economics means choosing life in the Deuteronimic sense (30:19): “life” is the way of the Lord. In the “new evangelical” view, it is the way of the political Jesus–not in the sense of Jesus’ being in government as Jesus eschewed political power–but in his seeking a radical reorganization of the way men live in the polis. Jesus calls us not only to service but to serve unto sacrifice. This is foreshadowed in the Judaic tradition: first, in the Abrahamic idea of covenant: a binding love from God to man and so from each man his neighbor. It is seen also in the Jubilee principles of debt cancellation and slave manumission, in the Pentatuch and Mishnaic provisions for the poor, and in the prophets, who lambasted Israel for forsaking love of God and care of their fellow man. It is repeated in the Talmud and in the medieval master of Biblical commentary, Rashi. Rashi for instance reads Isaiah, “I cannot be God unless you are my witness.” And Rashi glosses, “I am the God who will be whenever you bear witness to love and justice in the world.”
In his time, Jesus served lepers, tax collectors, and prostitutes. In death, he accepted crucifixion rather than recant his mission of a just society, and rather than use violence. In Paul, the one-ness of the God-of-salvation and the God-of-serving-others is made a structural aspect of Christianity. Paul is not, on the “new evangelical” view, concerned only about salvation and justification. Paul sees Jesus’ resurrection as a victory over death which scuttles the entire scarcity-competitive mode of life that comes with fear of death. For once Jesus’ resurrection trumps death, we do not have to fear the knavery and violence that might end in our own deaths: even if we were to die in the body, we remain in a more enduring and richer life, and so we can let go of competitive fear and act towards each other with the love of agape.
As the British theologian John Milbank writes, “[Paul] fuses together in the most radical manner achieved hitherto salvific, cosmic and political categories … Christ’s work of shattering all boundaries between the Creator and the Creation and between life and death has ensured that the cosmic is now effectively one with the psychic and the political…” The results are, Milbank continues, “women, children and slaves can now be, through baptism, fully citizens of this new sort of polity” (Galatians 3: 27-9).Richard Kearney sums up this line of thinking, “A capacitating God who is capable of all things cannot actually be or become incarnate until we say yes… it is a dynamic call to love that possibilizes and enables humans to transform their world by giving itself to the least of these, by empathizing with the disinherited and the dispossessed, by refusing the path of might and violence….”
This is what God’s love and covenant with us looks like on earth. Jesus’ teachings and the double salvific/serving lesson of the crucifixion and resurrection are what we are called to follow in our dealings with each other. In so doing, communities of Christians would transform the polis through “revolutionary subordination”—John Yoder’s term. Christians would accept their social roles and political rule, and obey positive law (Romans 13: 1-7; 1 Peter 2:18; Ephesians 5:22). But they would live in the polis as a “contrast society,” promoting the dignity, freedom, and equality—the flourishing life–of each person (1 Corinthians 7:20; John 17:15-16). “The point is,” as one pastor in my study explained, “if healing the brokenhearted, setting the captives free and ministering to the poor was his [Jesus’] job description [in Isaiah 61] then we believe it is ours as well.”
The key to doing this, on the “new evangelical” view, is community and relationship—both words of covenant. Writing checks to one’s preferred charity is not to be scoffed at, but large institutions risk dispensing the sort of impersonal social service which Terry Eagleton rightly criticizes in Trouble with Strangers. The better approach is through the relationships one has and “when people fall in love with each other across class lines,” as Shane Claiborne, founder of The Simple Way community in Philadelphia whom I’ve taken to calling the “Elvis” of younger evangelicals, has written.
Christians may serve community/relationship in at least three ways, and “new evangelicals” understand these explicitly as the Deuteronimic whole-life ethics, of the love that is covenant and which seeks the common good–as you’ll see in the quotes below. The first form of community is within the church. Claiborne continues, “We see Christians who are hungry for a consistent ethics of life… some of the older folks bought into a pattern of living that hasn’t brought them life. It’s been consumer driven, radical individualism that has robbed them of community and vitality.” By contrast, he describes a group of suburbanites who created community, “‘not all of us need a washer and dryer,’ they said. ‘The Taylors can have one and we’ll create a schedule so all of us can use it. We’ll share. The Cunninghams will have the lawn equipment, etc.’” Still within the church, Claiborne belongs to a group of over 200,000 Christians who pool money to cover each other’s medical needs—a Christian alternative to state or corporate (market) agencies that handles $12 million in medical expenses a year.
A second way of serving is by taking funds evangelicals have from their businesses or jobs and developing educational, environmental, health care, and micro credit programs in less developed regions. Third is altering their own business practices in ways that build the common good. In this third scenario, business is no mean thing we do in order to have the funds for higher work, but rather, when business is done covenantially, with an eye to the life of the commons, it is a “calling” in itself. This idea of calling emerges from Calvinism, the ancestor of much American Protestantism, and its principle of “particular calling,” where each of us is called to use her individual talents to serve God and the commonwealth. The English Reformed (Calvinist) Bishop Joseph Hall wrote in 1607, “The homliest service that we do in an honest calling… if done in obedience and consciouness of God’s commandments, is crowned with an ample reward…” Or as the UK bishop and theologian Lesslie Newbigin more recently put it, “It is in the ordinary secular business of the world that the sacrifices of love and obedience are offered to God.”
One might also recall the Catholic writer, Michael Novak, “The task of lay persons in the economic order….is to build cooperative associations respectful of each other’s full humanity… to be participative and creative.” In Business as a Calling, Novak expands on his theme, “From the very beginnings, the modern business economy was designed to become an international system, concerned with raising the ‘wealth of nations,’ all nations, in a systematic, social way. It was by no means focused solely on the wealth of particular individuals.”
In practice, all three modes of service work roughly this way: capitalist markets rely very basically on capital/credit, material resources, skills, information, and their transfer or distribution. “New evangelicals” assess markets not according to profits only but according to common good, covenantial standards, Where markets violate these standards, “new evangelicals” work to re-organize any and all of these–capital/credit, resources, skills, information, and their transfer—for the sake of those whom the market has failed. In sum, common-good or whole-life economics does not change market relations (supply and demand, etc.) but changes relations within the market—prioritizing them and embedding them in common-good standards–and thus changes the market itself.
I’d like to give a few examples, the first illustrating what happens when people alter their own workplaces along whole-life/common good lines. Cheryl is a Pasco, Washington fruit farmer who chastened her Christian friends for thinking of economic-justice activism as a hobby rather as the way to re-organize their own farms. She said, “You don’t want the poor mingling with you. You don’t want anyone to mess with our social clubs…. Is this international partnership work really your lifestyle or is it just something you do on the side.”
Cheryl’s farm is a $60 million/year business. That is, she sells on the market and re-invests some of her profits but she also puts 50-75% of them into the family’s foundation for development projects in the US and abroad. For her employees she built a residential community with comfortable and affordable dwellings, and set up ESL, GED and computer courses, parenting training, youth programs, sports, counseling services, women’s support groups, pre-school, elementary school, and a college scholarship program for employees’ children. This changes the economic landscape in two ways, first, the physical provision of the housing and programs and second, her business helps her employees—1,100 migrant workers— to work together to get out of migrant work.
The next few examples are programs where American evangelicals use resources garnered from their businesses and jobs not primarily to alter their own workplaces but to work with less developed communities. One is a northwestern church surrounded by trailer parks and communities of immigrants, both legal and undocumented. Though parishioners are largely working and lower-middle class, donations can be significant. The church raised $66,000 in one offering to build a training center in a Zambian village, $100,000 for another project. The church provides extensive support for the local Karen community, refugees unwanted by both Thailand and Burma, not only offering emergency aid but restructuring opportunity by teaching skills like English-language proficiency and job-interviewing that allow the Karen to enter the US economy.
Other church ministries include its internationally famous environmental protection program; its food distribution program; a Men’s Ministry, which hopes to reduce spousal abandonment and divorce; the Celebrate Recovery substance abuse program so successful that even the Catholic ministry to the prisons asked this evangelical church to help set up the program for Catholic inmates; and the impressive free health clinic, which operates from donations of time, medicines, and funds from church-members and local doctors and serves those lacking health insurance. Questions about legal residence documentation are not asked.
This church also has extensive overseas programs, but before I describe them, I should say that in this controversial area, “new evangelicals” are developing a nuanced critique of the “Bibles for bacon” school of evangelizing, where participation in religious activities was a condition of aid. This is unacceptable not least because it is un-Jesus-like. Jesus served; he did not ask people “to sign on the bottom line,” as John Ashmen, head of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, put it. The present approach is to spend time and develop friendships so that resource development is appropriate to that community. The obligation is on the “new evangelical” to serve not on the recipient to believe one thing or another. “We do not tell a community,” a pastor at a southern megachurch, notes, “that we know what their problems are and how to fix them. We try to find out what the perspective of the community is, and we often learn more than they do.”
Or as one head of an overseas program told me, “In many cases, “Christians have made a shambles of mission work. Go back to the Crusades; Christians were killing people in the name of God. Give me a break. In foreign countries, people want to know what we’re in it for—the oil, the diamonds? The history has not been good…I can buy all the “rice Christians” I want. In the third world, people will say anything for rice or money.” But, he adds, if people come to the church, I want only “the ones who are in it heart and soul.” If people want to know why his church is digging a clean well or building a school, he’ll tell them, and perhaps something about Jesus will interest them. “I’ve dug thirty foot water wells with guys who didn’t believe what I do, and I love those guys. If God wants to use me to change their belief, that’s fine. If not, then heck, we dug a well.”
The northwestern church we were discussing has long-term partnerships with churches in Ecuador, the Philippines, Zambia, Chile, and Paraguay. “We tend to everyone—Muslim, Jewish,” the head of overseas missions explained. “The commitment is at least ten years—you can’t do anything with less.” The point is, again, not only to feed the hungry but to impart skills that restructure the local economy–experience which has made the church sophisticated not only about structural changes but about how they interact. For instance, if you build a well in a village, not only have you provided clean water and reduced disease but you’ve reduced the rape rate, as girls no longer have to walk alone along lonely roads to draw water.
A second example of a church using its US-funds for work in developing areas is Northland church, not far from where we sit today in Florida. Through its partnership with the Vredlust church in South Africa, parishioners in both Northland and Vredlust, in community with each other, serve a small, impoverished area in Swaziland. The effort is run, “by people who instead of taking a vacation at the beach volunteer for Swaziland,” as a Northland pastor, put it. “What started out as two camp fires and a kettle is now several classroom buildings, a medical clinic, and we’re doing micro-loans for business start ups.” I’d like to note that this is not charity only but the redirection of market resources—education, health care, micro-credit—where the market is disinterested.
My next example is the para-church Farmer to Farmer program in Nicaragua, set up by Partners Worldwide, a Christian organization specializing in getting businesspeople in the developing world on their feet. The Nicaraguan program’s aim is to buy land from absentee landlords and offer it to farmers on lease-to-buy provisions where the Nicaraguans pay for the plot over seven to ten years. US farmers provide the capital and help their Nicaraguan partner to solve agricultural problems, develop markets and business plans, etc. so that they can move from subsistence farming to agricultural enterprises. The US farmers make a minimum of one visit per year and one phone call per month to their Nicaraguan partner for problem solving and mentoring, though they often do far more. Repaid loans go into a Nicaraguan business development fund that purchases new plots for more farmers.
Don Esteban is one Nicaraguan who applied for his land-loan in 2005; his son, in 2006. They are partnered by Iowa farmers Bonnie and Don Vos. As of 2009, the Estebans were current in their loan payments, had 500 coffee-producing plants, were developing 800 more seedlings, and had planted 100 hardwood trees, which go for $500 if harvested whole and nearly $5,000 if cut into lumber. The initial capital investment was $1,500. The elder Esteban says, “The farmers from Iowa have mentored, encouraged, and prayed for me. Because of them, I am now ready to help other landless farmers…. And then we can make this whole community God’s community.” Here, the region has been altered from neglected, unproductive plots held by absentee landlords to independently-owned farms, every inch cultivated using soil-enriching methods, producing coffee that is sold domestically and internationally so that profits can be re-invested in new farms owned by newly-independent farmers who work not as individual tenant farmers but as a community with each other and with the American partners.
My last example of this type is from Uganda, not yet recovered from the violence of Idi Amin’s dictatorship and the civil war that followed–violence that killed Timothy Jokkene’s brother and four uncles, and landed him in a prison that makes Guantanamo look like a spa. On release in 1989, he saw an opportunity in an abandoned gas station, for which a local banker, recalling Timothy’s skill at handling a gas station before his imprisonment, snuck him a loan to buy. Because of his honest business approach—not always the rule in Uganda—his business flourished and he was able to repay the loan in record time. Twenty years later, Timothy owned six gas stations in the countryside, two in the capital of Kampala, employing scores of people. He also owned a soda distribution company, which began with sales of 500 cases/month and in 2008 was up to 20,000. He developed his own micro-credit program and cares for 40 or so AIDS orphans, paying for their vocational training. To Aloysius, who trained as a tailor, Timothy gave a sewing machine and six month’s rent on a small work-space as a graduation present. At 25, Aloysius has eight machines, ten employees, and is sending his siblings to school. So we see a generational snow-ball effect.
But now things get interesting. In 2004 Timothy attended a seminar hosted by Partners Worldwide, where he saw that business and mission can be the same calling: “it had never occurred to me that a businessman could actually minister in his own business by using it as a calling to minister to God.” He learned how to re-structure his micro-credit program from a charity to one that charged each credit-recipient a small amount of interest to develop a cache of funds for future loans. This micro-finance program got funding first from a Norwegian missionary and then from the president of Bestfresh Foods in California, a Partners Worldwide team leader. In addition to making loans, Timonty’s micro-finance program offers to hold savings that loan-recipients can mange and, through Partners Worldwide, each dollar saved is tripled. Loan repayments go into a fund that provides more loans; at the end of each year, excess is distributed to members as dividends. Four years after starting up, Timothy’s micro-finance programs had helped 1,000 micro-businesses, with loans averaging $150, and 200 small businesses with loans averaging $1,000.
Problems do arise with these sorts of efforts, including: structuring loan programs where recipients are not taught or encouraged to save; local violence that incidentally or intentionally destroys emerging businesses and first-world investment in them, which discourages future investment; using loans for emergencies, like sudden illness, rather than for business development; lack of training or entrepreneurial experience which hobbles the transition from aid recipient to independence in business; distrust by locals of their well-off, American partners; and failure to build in accountability and support structures for developing-world partners so that they don’t misuse funds.
In addition to recognizing problems, I am suggesting neither that these specific programs are the only productive paths to changing economies in the direction of economic justice nor that any one approach would work equally well in all contexts. The “new evangelicals” I spoke with would be the first to say that a key component in redistributing opportunity is relationship and attention to the particulars of place, culture, and people. As suggested by Lenore Ealy, Editor at Conversations in Philanthropy, a marketplace of approaches to mix market and the common good might “be more likely to generate more accurate assessments of the benefits or dangers posed by any potential philanthropic Trojan horse.”
I do want to suggest, however, that “new evangelicals” are developing a few instructive models that employ market relations within a framework of whole life/common-good values that alter relations in the market—and thus alter the market itself. I’d also like to conclude by saying that many more examples could be given of the resource distribution and opportunity restructuring resulting from the “new evangelical” synthesis. If one church raises $100,000 in one effort, another church, $1.5 million per year, multiply that by the number of faith-based groups engaged in this sort of work and one has some idea of the funds and personal involved. Against the view that embedding markets in an ethics of life is Romantic or useless, the “new evangelical” synthesis might have something to say, especially since it is already on the ground, doing just this sort of linking.