I recently joined Engy Abdelkader, Jill Jacobs, John Inazu, Johnnie Moore, Gerardo Marti, David Gibson, Andre Henry, Asma Uddin, Robin Fretwell Wilson, and Jonathan Calvillo in thinking about what we can expect on the religious scene in 2021. Thanks to Yonat Shimron of Religion News Service for putting this piece together.
Here is my contribution:
In 2020, American evangelicals had an opportunity to move beyond the kind of one or two issue politics that have defined their public identity for four decades. They failed miserably. As historians look back on evangelical life during this tumultuous year, they will uncover a religious group that mostly ignored racial injustice, preferred individual liberties over care for their neighbors amid a deadly pandemic, and supported a narcissistic president who convinced them Supreme Court justices were more important than truth, empathy and basic human decency. As local pastors struggled to hold their politically divided congregations together by keeping them focused on spiritual matters, they learned their efforts toward shaping the moral lives of their flocks through sermons about racial justice, neighbor-love and compassionate politics could not compete with the power of conservative media and the loud voices of Christian right activists. In 2021, some evangelicals will remain citizens of the shadow government Trump is building through the millions of dollars donated to his “election fraud” efforts, while others will assess the damage of the Trump years, try to heal the wounds in their congregations and attempt to restore evangelicalism’s gospel witness.
Read the entire piece here.