Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Evangelicalism's Wrong Turn

Fred Clark of Slacktivist blog calls our attention to a passage in Peter G. Heltzel's Jesus & Justice: Evangelicals, Race & American Politics.  Clark writes: "understand and absorb these five sentences and you can understand the entire history of white evangelicalism in America over the past 50 years:

In 1965 [Carl] Henry sent Frank E. Gaebelein to cover the march in Selma, Alabama. An associate editor of Christianity Today and the founder and headmaster of the Stony Brook School, New York, Gaebelein went to Selma and was so inspired that he wired Henry in Washington, DC, that evangelicals needed to join the march. But Gaebelein’s stories of the Selma march never saw the light of day. The resistance at Christianity Today was coming primarily from two people: J. Howard Pew, the Texas oil man and the financer of Christianity Today, and L. Nelson Bell, Billy Graham’s father-in-law and an editorial adviser at Christianity Today, who still had segregationist views. Pew and Bell did not want Christianity Today to speak out too critically against racism and capitalism, because they thought it would alienate important segments of the magazine’s constituency.

Read Clark's riff on this paragraph here.