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Evangelical agenda is a term that refers to the political and social objectives of an American Evangelical Christianity. Evangelical Christianity exists in many other parts of the world and may or may not share similar beliefs and objectives with a particular conservative brand of an American "Evangelical agenda".
Defining the American "evangelical agenda" is a difficult task, given the large variety of beliefs among American Christians. Arguably, the Christians making the most noise in the United States today, and who are arguably the most politically powerful block of Christians, are conservative evangelicals. While there are certainly evangelical Christians who are moderates or even left-leaning, this article will attempt to display the most general characteristics of the conservative fundamentalist evangelicals' political outlook.
In general, conservative-leaning evangelical Christians have traditionally been opposed to all things liberal. The majority of evangelicals align themselves with the right, an association that was established in the 1970s via Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority. As such, conservative evangelicals will often vote according to Republican Party endorsements. Similarly, the GOP is bound and determined to keep their evangelical base happy and will often vote and act according to the beliefs of their evangelical constituents. Once the Reagan years drew to a close, the group was largely dissolved, although Pat Robertson's group, the "Christian Coalition", is largely based upon the same principles.
Beliefs by category
- Homeschooling: Some conservative Evangelicals strive to have homeschooling fully recognized by all levels of government as a fully legitimate form of schooling, regardless of curriculum. They contend that a child's parent(s) are best fit to determine what (if anything) their child learns and at what pace.
- Creation science: In the public school forum, some conservative evangelicals want, at the very least, equal time spent in the classroom learning about evolution as about the "theory" of creation. Their motto is to "teach the controversy", despite the fact that not only is the concept of there being a controversy laughable, but also that such a belief would be best suited to religious studies rather than a science class. Unfortunately, several high-profile members of the Republican Party support this item, including Sarah Palin, George W. Bush, Bill Frist, and Bobby Jindal.
- School prayer: Some conservative evangelicals are also extremely adamant about the need for government sanctioned, teacher-led, prayer in school. While there is no outright ban on school prayer (there are only restrictions on teacher-led prayer), Christians often like to claim persecution that they are not allowed in schools. Many evangelicals like to claim that school shootings (most notably at Columbine High School) are a direct result of God being "banned" from schools.
- Sex education: Some conservative evangelicals advocate abstinence-only sex education in schools. In their minds, they believe that children are taught as early as kindergarten "how to have sex", an accusation that is far from true.
Middle Eastern affairs
- Israel: Some conservative evangelical Christians support Israel and Israel's right to defend itself. In their minds, Israel holds a special place in God's heart and to support Israel is to support God's Plan. These people view any perceived lack of support of Israel as an outright attack, whether it be cutting back on the billions in aid donated by the United States government or a failure to continually supply Israel with United States military equipment. The Christian Action for Israel website gives several reasons for why some conservative evangelical Christians believe they owe Israel an allegiance, even at the expense of the United States at times.
Separation of church and state
- Some conservative evangelical Christians, including Pat Robertson, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and former House Majority leader Tom Delay, strongly believe that there should be no barrier between Church and State. They strongly support the idea that teachers, judges and various other government employees should be able to display the Ten Commandments in their respective rooms. As one magazine article suggests, they are almost always against the acceptance of any other religion but Christianity.
- Some conservative evangelical Christians believe that the United States was founded by Christians as a Christian nation, and that by maintaining a separation of Church and State we are failing to live up to the dream that they once had. As such, evangelicals overall view the ACLU as attacking the core values of America in an attempt to destroy it.
- Some conservative evangelical Christians largely view marriage as being between one man and one woman, with no exceptions. They strongly oppose gay marriage, seeing it as disgusting and morally reprehensible.
- Some conservative evangelical Christians largely view divorce with distaste, although Jerry Falwell pointed out that there was a certain amount of forgiveness afforded for Ronald Reagan during his Presidential elections.
- "Religion and the Presidential Vote." The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Dec. 6, 2004.
- "Faith-Based Politics Costs Colorado Republicans." FreeColorado.com. Oct. 15, 2008.
- "About Us." Christian Coalition Of America.
- Jerry Falwell, Defending Prayer in Schools
- WorldNetDaily: Texas school district threatens religious persecution