A new survey from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that 82 percent of U.S. evangelical leaders think their influence is slipping. RNS reports:
The Rev. S. Douglas Birdsall, executive chair of the Lausanne Movement, which worked with Pew on the survey, said the U.S. pessimism is rooted in a changed culture where Billy Graham has retreated from public life and government-sponsored prayer has been banned from public schools for more than a generation.
“There was a time when there was a Ten Commandments in every classroom, there were prayers in public places,” he said. “So having gone from that position of considerable influence, even though we might actually have more influence than churches in … other parts of the world, the sense is that it’s slipping from our hands.”
The perception of declining influence comes as the nation has become both more pluralistic and more secular. The vast majority of U.S. leaders surveyed — 92 percent — called secularism a major threat to evangelical Christianity.
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