Evangelical Political Activism Will Increase, Leaders Expect

A majority of evangelical leaders expect evangelical political activism to increase over the next decade, according to a poll conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals.

When asked, "what do you expect the level of political engagement among evangelicals will be in the next 10 years?" over half, 57 percent, answered that evangelicals will be more politically engaged than they are today.

One in four, 25 percent, said they expect political engagement to remain the same, and 18 percent believe that evangelicals will become less politically active.

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The Evangelical Leaders Survey is conducted monthly by NAE. The poll is not a representative sample of all evangelical leaders, but a survey of NAE's board of directors. The board includes 107 denominational leaders, pastors, and the heads of evangelical service organizations, publishers and colleges.

"Evangelicals aren't going away," said Leith Anderson, president of the NAE, in a statement. "The issues that motivated us to engage in politics in the past will keep and inspire engagement in the future."

Caring about what happens in government, Anderson continued, is an extension of God's call to love one's neighbor: "Evangelicals take the Bible seriously, and as such, they will be faithful to follow God's call to love their neighbors as themselves. Many realize that calling involves caring about what happens in the political realm."

When NAE was founded in 1942, it was part of an effort to get evangelicals more engaged with the culture around them. Before that, the fundamentalist movement in the early 1900s had encouraged evangelicals to become more isolationist and focused on soul-saving, rather than social action.

Evangelicals also became politically engaged with the Christian Right social movement that began in the late 1970s. That movement mobilized many evangelicals, who were previously mostly Democrats or non-political, to become active in the Republican Party, especially over the issues of abortion, homosexuality and obscenity.

Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland Church, a senior editorial adviser for The Christian Post, and a member of NAE's executive committee, believes that increasing evangelical political activism will be motivated by concern for the most vulnerable in society.

"New generations will demand practical and cultural engagement of all sorts to apply spiritual teaching. They will not be as attracted toward mere 'in house' church activities. Included in community service will be political advocacy, especially for the vulnerable," he said.

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