As the Republican Party’s hold on religious conservatives shows signs of loosening in Florida and around the country, some evangelicals are redefining what it means to be a values voter.
About 1,500 Christians are expected in Washington today for a nationally televised forum with the leading Democratic presidential candidates, in what organizers describe as a turning point in the debate over the role of faith in politics.
For decades, politicians touted their ”family values” by disavowing abortion, gay marriage and stem-cell research. But some evangelical leaders are now pushing a broader moral agenda that includes AIDS, global warming, poverty and the crisis in Darfur.
After years in the shadow of the religious right, churchgoing liberals are joining the political fray: lobbying Congress, organizing grass-roots groups and promoting compassion in books and blogs.
”The religious right has tried to paint progressives as if they are a bunch of people on the fringe who are out of touch with mainstream America, and that’s just not the case,” said the Rev. Tim Simpson, a Presbyterian minister and spokesman for the Jacksonville-based Christian Alliance for Progress. “We think theological reflection is the responsibility of every Christian voter . . . How should a Christian think about this war? How should a Christian think about torture?”