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Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism (Politics and Culture in Modern America) Hardcover – September 10, 2012
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"Moral Minority is a vivid topography of a little-understood corner of evangelical thought."—New York Times
"In this remarkably rigorous, richly contextualized, and generally exhaustive exploration of the evangelical Left, David R. Swartz returns readers to a time when theologically conservative Protestantism was 'politically up for grabs.'"—Journal of American History
"David Swartz has written a book of colorfully portrayed characters and credible storyline that strikes an elegant balance between politics, theology, social history and biographical narratives."—American Society of Church History
"In this superbly written study, David Swartz offers an excitingly fresh and compelling look at evangelical activists who forged a different ideological path in the age of Nixon and Reagan, one that veered left, away from the rightward trends of their day. Blending big-picture perspective with the colorful insight of biography, Swartz vividly describes his subjects' gospel of social justice and their struggles to win their church over to this progressive faith. In doing so, he forcefully reminds us that modern evangelicalism is neither monolithic nor static in its political persuasions and quest for impact. As both good history and timely observation, this is an important book."—Darren Dochuk, author of From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism
"Swartz restores the evangelical left to its important place in the annals of post-sixties American evangelicalism. A striking work of research, recovery, and analysis, Moral Minority will stand as an essential contribution to the new history of American evangelicalism."—Steven P. Miller, author of Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South
About the Author
More About the Author
Follow his blog on progressive politics and faith at http://moralminoritybook.com/
Top Customer Reviews
Clearly a scholarly investigation, the writing is almost journalistic in its flow and ability to tie together apparently unrelated figures and players in the struggle for the soul of evangelical identity and praxis. Here's a sample from just one paragraph in the book:
"They came from diverse traditions, nurtured different impulses, and pursued disparate projects. In the early 1970s, however, they began to find each other. In 1970 African American evangelical Bill Pannell traveled to Costa Rica to tell Latin Americans about the black experience in the United States.Read more ›
This is a story many of us didn't know we wanted and needed to read, a story many didn't know existed. It's a story "chronicling the rise, decline, and legacy of the evangelical left."
But it's so much more than that. It's the story of what it looks like to merge progressive politics with deep personal piety; the story of "holistic concern for both evangelism and social action;" the story of a full 1/3 of evangelicals who do not find their voice in the religious right; the story of an awakening to social concern and the presence of social evil; it's the story of evangelical politics which very much could have taken a profoundly progressive shape; it's the story of a deeply diverse evangelicalism unwilling to fit neatly into caricatures; and its the story of what it might look like to love both God and neighbor with equal abandon.
This is a good story.
The bulk of the book seeks to sort from whence such a progressivism comes, weaving individual and organizational narratives into the whole, with chapters on Carl Henry and Neo-Evangelical Social Engagement, John Alexander and Racial Justice, Jim Wallis and Vietnam, Mark Hatfield and Electoral Politics, Sharon Gallagher and Spiritual Community, Samuel Escobar and the Gblobal perspective, Richard Mouw and Evangelical Politics, and Ron Sider and Economics. Each chapter, itself a story, is fantastic.Read more ›
Forty years ago, that state of affairs was easier to imagine. On November 25, 1973, a group of moderate and liberal evangelicals issued "The Chicago Declaration of Social Concern," which began with these words:
"As evangelical Christians committed to the Lord Jesus Christ and the full authority of the Word of God, we affirm that God lays total claim upon the lives of his people. We cannot, therefore, separate our lives from the situation in which God has placed us in the United States and the world."
The declaration went on to acknowledge, "we have not demonstrated the love of God to those suffering social abuses." It critiqued American evangelicals' quiescence regarding "the social and economic rights of the poor and oppressed," "the historic involvement of the church in America with racism" in terms of both "personal attitudes" and "social structures," "the materialism of our culture and the maldistribution of the nation's wealth and services," "the misplaced trust of the nation in economic and military might," and the "prideful domination" of men and "irresponsible passivity" of women.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I finally gave up and skipped some of the biographical writing just to get to the point. I did find an answer to my question, "Can I be a Christian and a Democrat too. Read morePublished on December 12, 2013 by Elizabeth D
A brilliant, insightful, and fascinating history of the rise and fall (and potential rise again) of the American evangelical left. Read morePublished on May 4, 2013 by knburch
David R. Swartz's Moral Minority is a scholarly work focused on a topic often discussed outside academia. Read morePublished on April 9, 2013 by bcallison
Is to return to the basic values as outlined in the Holy Bible. Few people seem to care anymore. Those of us that do, are clearly the "Moral Minority".Published on April 3, 2013 by ASPIEMAN
This book filled in a lot of gaps for me. I really appreciated the coverage of Jim Wallis and Sojourners as well as the chapter on the Carter presidency.Published on February 4, 2013 by Karl N. Goodman
I have written a lengthy, positive review of this fine book for Christianity Today. Here is the link to that review: