Culture Wars/Current Controversies

This conservative leader is trying to make white evangelical politics less white

By Susan Davis, NPR

NASHVILLE — At a recent gathering of thousands of religious conservative activists held by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, one thing immediately stood out: the crowd isn’t as white as it used to be.

That’s not an accident, according to founder Ralph Reed.

“Our goal is, over the coming decades, to build a genuinely multiracial, multiethnic, faith-based movement that changes the demographic location of our movement,” Reed said during a lunch roundtable with a handful of reporters.

Attendees listened to Christian worship music — at times sung in Spanish — and attended sessions on how to turn out the vote in this year’s midterms. The message, and the movement, is resonating with Black pastors like W.J. Coleman from Lewisville, Miss.

“Many realize they are conservative, but the word ‘conservative’ and ‘Republican’ have been made an evil word,” he told NPR. “But if you take that out of the equation, many more minorities would find themselves being that.”

Social conservatism is having a moment

The Supreme Court is handing down recent decisions in their favor — against abortion rights and in favor of public prayer — and the Republican Party’s rising stars, like Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, are eagerly taking on the progressive politics of corporate America.


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