Evangelicalism and the Decline of American Politics

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Evangelicalism and the Decline of American Politics

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Beginning in the 1970s evangelical Christians decided to become involved in our nation’s political life by becoming Republican partisans. Today they are widely considered the Republican Party’s most reliable constituency. In the process American politics has become more bitter, chaotic, divisive, and now dysfunctional.

There is a significant bipartisan consensus that the Republican Party bears the most responsibility for the state of our nation’s politics. This is not an endorsement of Democratic policies, only an assessment of why our government no longer gets anything done.

What is often ignored, though, is the role evangelicals are playing in what is happening. This book connects the dots between evangelical theology and Repulican politics. The key factor in both is their “no compromise” attitude that sees negotiations as a betrayal of moral principles, confident as they are that they are doing God’s work here on earth. The result, as this book shows, is bad politics and bad religion, both of which are out of step with the views of most Americans. It concludes with suggestions for what the nation and evangelicals themselves can do to open the door to our government being able to function again, and to the nation healing some of its divisions.

“In this provocative book, Jan Linn argues that the evangelical theological movement is responsible for the extremism of right wing politics, and the incivility that characterizes so much of contemporary public life. Linn does not take potshots. He writes from the perspective of a former insider–one who grew up in evangelicalism and who understands many of its dynamics. Linn points to a way forward: partisan religio-politics giving way to respectful dialogue in a context of critical thinking in which participants are informed by education and are willing to compromise. This volume is excellent for individual reading and as a resource for group study.” ~ Ronald J. Allen, Professor of Preaching, and of Gospels and Letters, Christian Theological Seminary

“With deft analysis and an impressive command of the contemporary political and religious scene, Jan G. Linn lays bare the cultural captivity of evangelicalism to the Republican Party. The consequence, as he demonstrates, has been detrimental to both, as well as to the public good. Evangelicalism and the Decline of American Politics provides a cautionary tale about the dangers of conflating religion and politics.” ~ Randall Balmer, John Phillips Professor in Religion, Dartmouth University

About the Author
Jan Linn is the author of seventeen books. In addition to writing his Blog, his latest book, Unbinding Christianity (Choosing the Values of Jesus over the Beliefs of the Church), will be published in February of 2020.

Jan has taught at the college and seminary level, the latter as a tenured senior faculty member at Lexington Theological Seminary until he chose to leave his position to join his wife, Joy, in moving to Minnesota where they started a new church. They retired from the new congregation after 14 years as co-pastors, allowing Jan to write full-time. Jan is also known for his preaching, having been the preacher of the week at the Chautauqua Institution and a guest lecturer across the country.

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