Amy E. Black
Part of the IFC’s 2017 Two-Day Symposium on Religious and Political Disagreement
Thursday, April 20, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
St. Olaf College, Tomson Hall 280
Discussions of the role of evangelicals in politics inevitably encounter two problems: defining the term evangelical and identifying which people or organizations fit this label.
The contemporary evangelical movement is a loose and diverse coalition that developed over time and continues to transform in composition and character. Some people and organizations self-identify as evangelical; others are given the label even if they do not use it for themselves.
In recent years, growing divides over cultural issues, especially LGBT rights, have been testing the boundaries of evangelicalism. Donald Trump’s candidacy and victory revealed major fault lines in evangelicalism at the leadership and grassroots levels. These and other developments have renewed debate over the definition and use of the term “evangelical.” To what extent is this still a useful category for understanding political behavior? In what ways might the term be better reserved for grouping religious believers based on their theological commitments? Amy Black’s talk will explore some of the dynamics of the contemporary evangelical movement, considering its significance in American political life and current challenges facing evangelical leaders and identifiers.
Audio from the event was featured on MPR News Presents.