This Associated Press story follows the same line of argument that we've been seeing for several months now; namely, the insistence that evangelicals are no longer very interested in social conservatism. Travelers on the "gospel train" once led by engineers like James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson are now, this argument goes, either 1) tired of the fight; 2) too angry at Republican sell-outs to work for the party anymore; or 3) changing their political priorities as they listen to more "enlightened" evangelicals like Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, Rick Warren and the leaders in the National Association of Evangelicals.
The story does have some merit, of course. 21st Century evangelical leaders have been smitten badly by post-modern liberalism, including an insistence on personal peace over a commitment to justice, and a preference to the comfy, tolerant political-correctness found in the mega "worship centers" over obedience to the Bible's revelations about sin, righteousness and truth.
However, there is also no doubt that this argument keeps recurring in the MSM because modern journalists so want it to be true. They would relish having orthodox religionists out of the way because it has been only those kind of evangelicals (and their counterparts in the Roman Catholic Church) that have kept the culture from moving yet further into heterosexual and homosexual license, abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, repression of Constitutional freedoms, weakness of national defense, abandonment of Israel, and so much more.
Yes, were evangelicals to follow clerics more like Campolo and Wallis (in other words, clerics whose religion is more like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton), how much easier would be the job of the MSM in re-shaping the world?
Will evangelicals continue to stand firm in the defense of biblical values? Or will the wishful thinking reflected in news stories like this one become the reality of the future?
The jury is still out.