Progressive evangelicals reshape image

The Associated Press is reporting that Sojourners is organizing a conference in Columbus, Ohio, next month to highlight the progressive roots of evangelism–particularly its roots in women’s suffrage and the abolitionist movements:

An evangelical group that wants to reshape the movement’s political reputation for being focused on opposing abortion and same-sex marriage is hoping that a series of meetings stressing its roots in women’s suffrage and abolition will help it break out of the mold.

The stated goal of the first three-day “justice revival,” one of several to be held around the country, is to tackle poverty in the city through a collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

But the broader idea is to energize the relatively small liberal end of the evangelical spectrum by linking religious faith with social action as earlier American social movements did, its planners say. Among the areas to be explored by participants are access to health care, immigration, global warming and the war in Iraq.

“I have been very deeply moved by the history of these great awakenings in our national life, where there was a revival of faith that led to big change in our society,” said Jim Wallis, CEO of Sojourners/Call to Renewal.

The Washington, D.C.-based group will hold the event April 16-18 in Columbus, with 30 of the city’s largest evangelical churches, representing 10,000 Christians.

“A whole generation of young evangelicals believes that Jesus would probably care more about the 30,000 children who died again today — as they did yesterday and they will tomorrow — from preventable disease than he would about passing a gay-marriage amendment in Ohio,” Wallis said

Read it all here.

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