The British Invasion and the Social Transformation of American Evangelicals
Posted: 29 Mar 2010
This research compares political behaviors of American and British evangelicals to explore the sources and implications of the disparity in their public action. As American and British evangelicals share religious beliefs and practices, they differ in styles of civic involvement. Among American evangelicals, civic action means political involvement, but British involvement is less political than social. British evangelicals work to change social norms rather than governmental policy, in contrast to the American tradition of making social issues political ones. There is, however, evidence of a transformation as issues such as the environment and human rights emerge on the agenda of American evangelicals. Not coincidentally, these issues have diffused to American evangelicals from their British counterparts. One consequence of these findings is that if British evangelicals are shaping what American evangelicals are talking about, then British evangelicals also are shaping how American evangelicals are talking. The political role of American evangelicals might be expected to diminish, thereby removing much popular criticism of them for it.
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