Comments: All generalizations are false

I've since posted a response to The Beehimawth that answers some of these questions.

I agree with a lot of what Carl writes here, but it's not just that I want to note exceptions to the rule. It's that I think the rule itself doesn't do a good enough job describing what is really going on sociologically.

The definition Carl gives of the term evangelical Christians, as he sees it being used, is a good example of why it's better to speak in different terminology. Evangelical Christians are separated from non-evangelical Christians mainly by a greater missionary emphasis, a more literal (though not entirely literal) sense of the authority of Scripture, and... Well, that's about it. The category is incredibly broad. Pretty much everybody over at Sojourners identifies as an evangelical, and boy howdy are they not the way Carl describes them.

The term "radical Christians" is slightly better, but not ideal. Spiritually or theologically or politically radical? Of course the same criticism can be made of the labal "radical Muslim".

Why not just "right-wing Christians"? I think this is clear, and it also acknowledges that the right-wing support came from across denominational boundaries (see the response I referenced above).

Posted by Andrew Fields at January 30, 2005 03:07 PM

I don't think "right-wing Christian" goes far enough. There are probably lots of Christians who would self-identify as right-wing, and who have positions that I disagree with but can at least comprehend (against abortion, against gay marriage), but don't go into LaHaye-Jenkins territory. You should be able to be "right-wing" without being utterly reprehensible, e.g. declaring "You shall not know them for their works" means you don't have to do shit for the poor or anyone else, but you're still saved and Jesus loves you. That crap is just wrong, and the vast majority of Christians, evangelical or otherwise, I expect would agree that it's wrong.

Posted by Carl at January 31, 2005 11:06 AM