This paper explores the 1970s interlude of evangelical political experimentation on the liberal side of the American political spectrum. It does so to raise serious reservations about identifying evangelicals as a part of the conservative constituency. The style and substance of the evangelical left—a marked reliance on Scripture and the example of Jesus—would also become staples of the Religious Right’s rhetoric. Meanwhile, whether conservative or liberal, evangelicals paid little attention to the traditions of American politics, from federalism and constitutionalism to the Great Society and supply-side economics. Instead, evangelicals preferred to persuade in the name of biblical morality and ideals. For this reason, evangelical Protestants were an odd fit in the Reagan coalition and the recent rise of figures like Jim Wallis, Ron Sider, and Richard Cizik to take the spotlight from Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson is not surprising from the perspective of evangelical political engagement between 1968 and 1979.
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