Religion and Politics

Those who believe religion and politics aren’t connected, don’t know either

–Mohatma Ghandi

In today’s America, there is no doubt that religion and politics are intertwined. A recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) documents that, “White evangelical Protestants remain the dominant religious force in the GOP. More than one-third (35%) of all Republicans identify as white evangelical Protestant, a proportion that has remained roughly stable over the past decade. Roughly three-quarters (73%) of Republicans belong to a white Christian religious group.” However, in this changing religious landscape, defining “evangelical” or even “Christian” becomes a war of semantics.

The current political climate in the United States is tense, with endless news stories about what Congress is and is not doing, passionate opinions about our President, uncertainty about health care, taxes, and immigration, and all of the social issues which our nation needs to confront.

Rev. Dr. Jan Linn, former Lynchburg College Chaplain and Professor, is returning to campus to dialogue with the community next Wednesday, February 7th, at 7 p.m. in Snidow Chapel. His new book, Evangelicalism and the Decline of American Politics, is written out of his work as a historian, political scientist, and pastor/chaplain. Dr. Linn grew up in Lynchburg and lived here during the rise of the Moral Majority movement.

I encourage you to come challenge Dr. Linn with your questions about how faith influences our own politics and how he defines the “decline” of the American political system. I plan to ask him how he defines “evangelicalism” and why the Christian tradition is so politically fragmented today. How can Christians who read the same scriptures and worship the same God have such polarized positions?  How can William Barber speak the same truth as Pat Robertson and Joel Osteen?  Is Congress broken? Will the Democrats and Republicans ever be able to work together?

Next Wednesday evening (February 7), we celebrate the gift of respectful open dialogue about both Religion and Politics.  Please join me.

Blessings, Stephanie

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