Can Cause of Social Justice Tame our Culture Wars?

By Tom Krattenmaker in USA Today

Todd was an up-and-coming scientist, an oncology fellow at Stanford with multiple research grants and a dozen scientific publications on his curriculum vitae, when he heeded a different call.

Witness Todd’s pitch for the end-poverty campaign and you’ll be taken on an energetic tour of some surprising numbers.

Did you know that 52% of the world’s population suffered from extreme poverty just 30 years ago, but that number has been halved to 26% in one generation?

Isaiah 58

Perhaps even more revealing is the figure that Todd waves to rally the church to get extreme poverty the rest of the way to zero. That number is 58 — as in Isaiah 58, the Old Testament chapter that compels the righteous to loosen the chains of injustice, free the oppressed, give shelter to the wanderer and food to the hungry.

As the generational tides nudge this demographic closer to the front and center of American evangelicalism, it’s time for a refiguring of the equations by the many non-evangelicals nursing grudges about those pushy Jesus nuts — especially the progressive secularists who share these new evangelicals’ social justice commitments.

Divided by religious belief, these groups are easily stereotyped as culture war enemies. They needn’t be. If anything, they’re common-good allies simply in need of an introduction…

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Tom Krattenmaker is a Portland-based writer specializing in religion in public life and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. He is the author of the book Onward Christian Athletes.