July 19th, 2010
11:00 AM ET
I was talking one day to the Rev. Jim Wallis, an evangelical leader, when he made a startling claim:
The Religious Right has lost its children.
Wallis said the children of ultra-conservative Christians are deserting their parents’ theology in droves. Wallis is the president of Sojourners, a network of progressive Christians.
He says a new generation of Christians are tired of their faith being defined by two issues: fights over abortion and homosexuality.
Wallis cites another example as proof of his point: the popularity of evangelical writer Donald Miller, author of “Blue Like Jazz.”
Wallis, it turns out, is a big fan of Miller - as well as his friend. I talked to Wallis when I was interviewing people for a profile of Miller that appeared on CNN.com.
Wallis says Miller is so popular because he’s not interested in being a theological enforcer. He’s not afraid to ask hard questions and, perhaps even more, admit he doesn’t have the answer.
"His questions are the questions of a new generation," Wallis says. Wallis also says that a younger generation of evangelicals also care more about how their leaders live than what they say.
Miller’s mentoring project, which encourages men to mentor fatherless boys, also gives him credibility with younger evangelicals, Wallis says.
Kids look at him and he’s not just attacking other people for what they believe, he says, he’s actually trying to do something.
Wallis has long said that the Religious Right peaked in 2004 with the re-election of President George W. Bush. Still, it was shocking to hear him say near the end of our conversation, "The Religious Right is over because they lost their children."
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