Conservative Christian leaders who believe the word “evangelical” has lost its religious meaning plan to release a starkly self-critical document saying the movement has become too political and has diminished the Gospel through its approach to the culture wars.
The statement, called “An Evangelical Manifesto,” condemns Christians on the right and left for “using faith” to express political views without regard to the truth of the Bible, according to a draft of the document obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
“That way faith loses its independence, Christians become `useful idiots’ for one political party or another, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology,” according to the draft.
The declaration, scheduled to be released Wednesday in Washington, encourages Christians to be politically engaged and uphold teachings such as traditional marriage. But the drafters say evangelicals have often expressed “truth without love,” helping create a backlash against religion during a “generation of culture warring.”
“All too often we have attacked the evils and injustices of others,” they wrote, “while we have condoned our own sins.” They argue, “we must reform our own behavior.”