I say “evangelical,” and what do you think?

Perhaps the name George W. Bush comes to mind.  Maybe Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson.  And yes, Ted Haggard really is an evangelical.  Then I tell you some new names.  Jimmy Carter.  Jim Wallis.  Amy Sullivan.  The first is rather more recognizable than the other two, but I think you know where I’m going with this after seeing Carter’s name in the list.

For those of you who haven’t already been enlightened to the fact, you better get yourself out of stereotype central, because liberal evangelicals do exist.

“But this can’t be”, you say.  “Aren’t evangelicals those people who dislike the idea of homosexuality and abortions?”

Perhaps there are many out there who could be defined by this, but it’s unfair to say all of them are like this.  Evangelicalism is not purely interrelated with politics.  Yes, there are many people who do mix the two.  But, you’ve got to think that not everybody who follows the movement thinks the same way about the issues in the world?

And it’s true.  Evangelicalism is first and foremost a religious movement.  From my studies, to be an evangelical, you usually have to have a strong commitment to Jesus Christ, and to be active in spreading His word.  Sometimes, there is also a conversion element to it (being born again).

It makes sense to me, then, that many types of people would wish to spread the word of Jesus, and yet may care for the environment, or want to be active in civil rights.  You know, those things traditionally associated with liberalism.

Now, I try to keep myself open-minded as possible, and yet, I am not devoid of personal prejudices.  There was a time where I believed “all evangelicals are right-wing fundamentalists.”  Then you get into the real world and find out what’s different.  Like how one of the best professors I’ve had is very much a practicing Catholic with strong views on the subject.  If you think he’s a conservative, try again.

So, because of things like this, it is not surprising to me that there are liberal evangelicals.  It’s doesn’t really phase me much because I know that people in this world are not robots.  There is no one person with quite the same views.  It’s be a boring world if this were the case.

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