New Evangelists Buck the Christian Right

Like many others of her generation, she is not opposed to same-sex unions or gay marriage and said she believes that educational disparities and weakened families are closely linked to domestic poverty. This new coalition is "increasingly compassionate and accepting" toward the gay community, women in "crisis pregnancy" and "the poor and forgotten," said Waring.

Christian Tenets: Poverty, Environment

These young people and a growing coalition of moderates like Cizik, also want issues like global warming, poverty and military aggression more prominently addressed as core Christian tenets.

"I heard [Cizik's] interview with Terri Gross on Fresh Air and I thought it was wonderful," she said. "I felt very much 'represented' and I am disheartened to see him step down from the NAE. I don't think they have much of a future if they revert back to the Christian right agenda."

On some issues, Cizik has been more conservative. An ordained evangelical Presbyterian minister, Cizik drafted the letter to Ronald Reagan that brought the then-president to NAE, where he gave his "evil empire" speech, boosting the political clout of evangelicals.

He supported California's Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage and signed his name to an ad in The New York Times accusing gay advocates of "anti-religious bigotry," according to Christianity Today.

But his outspoken interview signals less rigid thinking, according to Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners. "Pioneers sometimes get into trouble and even pay a price for their explorations into new territories. But in the new moral center that is now visible, Rich's prophetic voice and leadership will continue to be heard and felt."

Wallis said Cizik will "continue to be a leader in the new faith coalition that is emerging now, and that will replace the religious right, without becoming a religious left."

"The old guard is literally passing from the scene and a new generation representing [evangelism] won't be turned back," he told

God Is Not a Republican

In his books, "God's Politics" and "Great Awakening," he argues that Christianity is not synonymous with the religious right and that God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat.

"The Bush administration was not pro-life," said Wallis. "The administration fought a war in Iraq that violated the ethic of life consistently. We don't accept that narrow, political partisan definition of life. This has been conservative politics put forth in a religious context."

Obama, on the other hand, addresses the abortion problem through education and support for low income women to prevent pregnancy, according to Wallis.

"This is the new common ground of pro life and pro choice," he said. "Does anybody think there's a better pro-family message than Barack Obama and the two kids coming up on stage in Grant Park?"

Many of these Christians also believe in equal protection under the law – for gay Americans and everyone else.

And they place a greater emphasis on heeding the actual words of Jesus – the ones once written in red letters in the Bible. They point to the parable in the Bible's Matthew 25, the obligation to care for "the least of these."

They use the Internet, rather than Christian radio, to spread their message. And their leaders have appeared on television's "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report."

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