The Common Good

Christian Leaders Challenge Media's Stereotype of a Conservative Evangelical Voting Bloc

Source: Sojourners
Date: January 23, 2008

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 Contact: Jason Gedeik, Sojourners, (202) 745-4633, media@sojo.net

CHRISTIAN LEADERS CHALLENGE MEDIA'S STEREOTYPE OF A CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL VOTING BLOCK
National Poll Confirms Broadening of Moral Agenda and Shift in Political Priorities

WHAT: Evangelical Christians rank the economy, improving public education and access to health care, and government reform as more important than ending abortion or stopping gay marriage, according to a surprising new online survey by Beliefnet.com, the leading multi-faith spirituality website. This major shift in the evangelical moral agenda was echoed by a panel of seven leading evangelicals during a live discussion hosted today by Sojourners, Beliefnet and the National Association of Evangelicals in Washington, D.C.

HOW: To access an online audio recording of the event please visit: www.sojo.net/whatevangelicalswant

To view the Beliefnet poll results please visit: http://www.beliefnet.com/story/229/story_22903_1.html

CONTACT: All of the evangelicals on this panel are available for interview. Jason Gedeik: 202-745-4633 / media@sojo.net

QUOTES:

JIM WALLIS, author of The Great Awakening and Founder of Sojourners "America was trapped in a monologue of the religious right that was too narrow and too partisan. That monologue is finally over and a new dialogue has begun that's about a social movement making racial and economic justice a priority of faith.”

REV. CHERYL SANDERS, Senior Pastor, Third Street Church of God & Professor of Christian Ethics, Howard University School of Divinity "It has been the evangelicals who have been the problem and not the problem-solvers. Martin Luther King was a Gospel-preaching Christian who brought the social Gospel to bear on the Civil Rights Movement. In the history of the African-American Church there has never really been a time when it was detached from this social and political message.”

RICHARD CIZIK, Vice President for Governmental Affairs, National Association of Evangelicals "An historic shift is occurring that can be likened to an earthquake in slow motion. The revolution is a broadening of the agenda where evangelicals are no longer single-issue voters willing to follow the leaders of the Religious Right.”

REV. JOEL HUNTER, Senior Pastor, Northland Church (Orlando, FL), author of A New Kind of Conservative and former President of the Christian Coalition "After evangelicals vote, we need to continue to voice our values. While government is not the enemy it's very important to realize that the crucial question is not who we elect as president, but how we respond to who is elected as president. Ultimately, we've got to come up with the solution.”

LYNNE HYBELS, co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church (Barrington, IL), author of Nice Girls Don't Change the World "I think as a whole evangelicals are realizing that the Church is global. And we across the world are not just related by faith, but we are related by the problems, the issues, in our communities. And I don't want to be someone who tries to read where the evangelical community is on