In a triumphal column over at Time.com, left-leaning political preacher Jim Wallis declares that “the Religious Right’s era is over.” This week’s New York Times Magazine is running an opinion piece that asks whether Democrats may be “narrowing the religion gap.” Is it time to start celebrating?
Not yet. Here in Moscow, Idaho, the Religious Right is still alive and kicking. Wallis’s will truly have arrived when the most visible representatives of Christianity in this sleepy little college town are no longer the members of near-cultlike Christ Church – and when I don’t have to spend my time in church mostly avoiding talking about my career in science and my time in the lab mostly avoiding talking about my faith. As for the Times article, its thesis is not that the Religious Right is losing steam, but that churchgoing Democrats will bring “welcome moderation” to the Culture Wars. Meanwhile, the worldwide Anglican Communion has given the American Episcopalian Church eight months to stop blessing same-sex unions. Moderation, it seems, may be understood to mean that liberals will tack right – but not that conservatives will give an inch to the left.
Of course, the tide can be turned, and it’s the responsibility of every liberal Christian to present to the world a face of Christ that isn’t defined by prejudice or powerlust. But we’ve still got a long way to go.