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Legacy

The Political Legacy of Progressive Evangelicals by Eric C. Miller.

For all the media attention paid to the Religious Right, much less energy has been spent looking into its counterpart, the Religious Left. And yet, when Barack Obama first ran for president in 2008, he appealed directly to religious voters, pairing his Christian faith with his progressive politics—something his Democratic predecessors Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton did as well. More recently, the world has watched as Pope Francis has brought a progressive tone to the papacy, leaving many American pundits to marvel at his message and delivery.

In reality, progressive faith and political power have a long relationship in American history. In his recent book, Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice, Brantley W. Gasaway delves into the work of contemporary progressive evangelicals—through figures like Jim Wallis and Ron Sider—whose political activism, starting in the 1960s, diverged from the louder voices of their conservative brethren. Over email, Eric C. Miller interviewed Gasaway, who is an associate professor of religious studies at Bucknell University. This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

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