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In past decades, (white) Evangelical Christians have embraced the political right, both in& out of church. This has alienated congregants of all stripes, but the problems run deeper than you might think. My new piece follows in thread form. Read it here: economist.com/united-states/…
1. It's well-known that white evangelical Christians lean heavily to the right. Their embrace of Trump has caused this fact to go mainstream. But the interesting bits are (a) how we got here and (b) the consequences moving forward.
2. Evangelical leaders abandoned discussions of morality & Biblical honesty in the 80s and embraced the politics of individual rights — to life, to speech, etc. In the past decade, those leaders have combined with conservative legal networks, forming a new Christian legal Right.
3. Over this time period, Evangelicals have become increasingly likely to support Republican candidates for office. Their mid-term voting behavior is 62 points more Republican than the nation as a whole. 81% of white "born-again" Christians voted for Trump in 2016.
4. With active legal networks, congregants and leaders alike have gotten some policies they support. Restrictions on abortion and, until recently, same-sex marriage became very common in the late 2000s, f.e. But the visible turn right is a new addition. For some, it's too much.
5. Now, congregants are leaving. They have been termed "ex-evangelicals," or "#Exvies."
6. I spoke to a leader of these so-called Exvies about what drove him to leave. He says that his intellectual disagreements with the church —he was schooled in a private Christian school, who taught him creationism and Noah's ark as history — and sexuality drove him out.
7. The budding community of Exvies is forming support networks around the country. They may soon welcome more members; studies show that when members feel intellectually detached from their congregations and are exposed to politics they disagree with, they leave.
8. Since the White Evangelical Churches aren't changing their minds about abortion or same-sex marriage any time soon, and their embrace of Republicanism is stronger than ever, congregants will likely continue to leave.
9. Many thanks to @C_Stroop for the #Exvie interview, to @AndrewRLewis for the valuable history of the Christian right and insights into conservative legal politics, and to @ErinCassese and @PaulDjupe who do very important work on the subject.
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