This is really a great time — in terms of mainstream media coverage — to be a liberal or “progressive” evangelical.
If you needed proof of this thesis — other than the contents of op-ed pages and wire features — then look no further than the latest political/media comeback by former President Jimmy Carter.
I have followed Carter for decades (I was a Carter volunteer at Baylor University in 1975-76), which is understandable since it’s impossible to report on the role of “born again” Christians in American political life without paying close attention to what Carter believes and when he believed it. He inspired many, many “moderate” Baptists and other evangelicals to take politics seriously.
Here’s a question I have asked for several decades now: Name another American politician — Republican or Democrat — who was willing to cost himself support within his own party by taking a critical stance, of any kind, on abortion. To this day, Carter’s language on abortion makes his party’s leadership nervous (see his remarks last year at Liberty University).
But the former president has certainly evolved on other crucial doctrinal issues. What role has this played in his current popularity with Democrats and, thus, with the press?
Consider this recent feature from the Associated Press: “Jimmy Carter finds a renaissance in 2020 Democratic scramble.” Here is the totally political overture:
ATLANTA (AP) — Jimmy Carter carved an unlikely path to the White House in 1976 and endured humbling defeat after one term. Now, six administrations later, the longest-living chief executive in American history is re-emerging from political obscurity at age 94 to win over his fellow Democrats once again.