recent years, television evangelists and Christians allied with
right-wing political causes have dominated the news media. The rapidly
growing number of people who have no religious affiliation derive
most of their impressions of Christianity from what they see on
television and from what they read in their newspapers. In order
for those in the public arena to learn about other approaches to
Christianity, the Center will host forums and other events that
will open conversations between authors, scientists, artists, and
other public figures and progressive Christians, and will develop
ways of drawing media attention to the ideas and the work of people
who represent the more open traditions of Christianity.

The concern in mainline churches over declining membership has enhanced
the influence of those who advocate following the lead authoritarian,
fundamentalist, and pentecostal churches which have not suffered
similar losses of members. The admiration for the success of these more
conservative denominations has prevented denominational leaders from
noticing and applauding the success of their own congregations that
have taken a more inclusive approach.

Denominational leaders also have failed to promote the work of scholars
who offer thoughtful readers an understanding of scripture and
tradition that challenges them but that does not demand of them a
sacrifice of intellectual integrity by prescribing answers to
fundamental religious questions.

To help mainline churches regain their health, the Center will provide
avenues for leaders of progressive congregations and for progressive
scholars to get a better hearing in mainline denominations.