American evangelicals have exerted significant political influence over the last thirty years. Particular policies and strategies of action have contributed to the alliance between conservative political life and evangelical activism. However, many evangelicals also identify with concerns and priorities of the political Left. Evangelicals in politics reflect a significant degree of cohesion, but there are also significant divisions among evangelicals in government, ones that have political consequences. This essay traces the expressive and institutional components of political activism that have contributed to cohesion between evangelical leaders and conservative politics. It then analyzes similar initiatives among the political Left. I conclude with an assessment of these developments and suggest why the political Right has been more successful. Data for this essay are based on interviews with 360 national, public leaders as well as leaders of evangelical institutions. Informants for this essay include two former Presidents of the United States; nearly fifty Cabinet secretaries, governmental leaders, and senior White House staffers; over 100 presidents, CEOs, or senior executives at large firms, both public and private; a dozen accomplished Hollywood professionals; over 10 leaders from the world of professional athletics, and a handful of leaders from the artistic and philanthropic arenas, among others. This study involves the largest and most comprehensive examination on the role of faith in the lives of public leaders ever conducted.


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