Magazine article The Christian Century

Evangelical Document Tries to Present More Nuanced Social Position

Magazine article The Christian Century

Evangelical Document Tries to Present More Nuanced Social Position

Article excerpt

In a self-defining paper for the broad spectrum of U.S. evangelicals, a landmark document nearing completion warns against close alignment with one political party and endorses government-aided social policies that are fair and just for all.

While saying patriotism is commendable, the statement also says Christians "must be careful to avoid the excesses of nationalism." The document was three years in the making under the aegis of the National Association of Evangelicals.

The NAE includes 52 denominations, independent churches and special ministries from a variety of evangelical and Pentecostal traditions, though the large Southern Baptist Convention has never been a member. The draft being reviewed by 100 church leaders comes from a committee cochaired by Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action, and Diane Knippers, president of the conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy. The NAE board will consider it at its October meeting.

The draft adheres to traditional evangelical support for families, including opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion and the use of human embryonic stem ceils for research. The content of the working paper was first reported by the Los Angeles Times on June 20.

Evangelicals who say they are moderate or liberal on some social issues have expressed discomfort with broad-brush assessments in the media or with some Christian Right leaders who link themselves to Republican Party goals. …

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