Some of the problems for mainline invisibility might be self-inflicted. “They best stop complaining and take another look at their methods of communicating and organizing,” says the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, head of the Interfaith Alliance, a religious liberty organization dedicated to protecting faith and freedom.
“Mainline congregations do not tend to translate their moral convictions into effective political organization and influential social action with the adeptness and passion that characterize evangelicals moving in lockstep with one another,” says Gaddy, who also hosts a show on the liberal Air America radio network. Leaders and activists of mainline denominations might be heeding Gaddy’s advice. Some are raising their profile by reaching out to find common cause with emerging, moderate evangelical churches on issues such as climate change, genocide in Sudan, human trafficking and HIV/AIDS.
Now there is also hope that with the two leading Democratic presidential candidates from their ranks ”” Hillary Clinton, a United Methodist, and Barack Obama, who despite the controversial minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is affiliated with the more moderate United Church of Christ ”” mainliners could have one of their own standard-bearers in the seat of secular power.
Megachurches? Collaboration with evangelicals? One of their own in the White House? Despite low fertility rates and other demographic challenges, mainline Protestantism isn’t fading from the national landscape just yet. In fact, if the budding megachurches are any indication, mainline believers might be hitting their stride, and finding their voice, just in the nick of time.