August 29, 2014

New Book Warns of Evangelical Left Influence on Millennials

Institute on Religion and Democracy Press Release
August 29, 2014
Contact:  Jeff Walton office: 202-682-4131, cell: 202-413-5639, e-mail:

“If U.S. evangelicals disengage from the public square and fail to engage the rising generation, then we risk losing our public voice, then our religious liberty, and then liberty altogether.”
-Chelsen Vicari, Evangelical Action Director


Washington, DC—A new generation of Evangelical Christians is vulnerable to liberalizing trends in the U.S. church, according to a young new author who pushes back at a culture in which not giving offense is prized more than telling uncomfortable truths.

In Distortion: How the New Christian Left is Twisting the Gospel and Damaging the Faith, author Chelsen Vicari, in her first book, challenges the Evangelical Left and names names. She offers readers a glimpse into the world of a typical Evangelical Millennial who is spiritually and emotionally targeted on Christian campuses, youth groups, and campus ministries by a growing liberal movement cloaked in Evangelical terminology.

Vicari, who joined IRD last year, charts theological trends that reduce God’s supremacy, dispute biblical teaching, and espouse moral relativism. She argues that her own Millennial generation — susceptible to feel-good doctrine and a ‘gospel of nice’ — is playing a major part in America’s cultural decline. Millennial Christians worried about offending others end up suffocating or denying traditional Christian teaching.

Chelsen Vicari, Director of IRD’s Evangelical Action program, commented:

“The goal of the Christian Left is to undermine the authority of the Bible by painting inconsistencies in Scripture, which they hope will breed confusion and, at times, doubt. Once the lines of truth are blurred, young Evangelicals start to reconcile their faith with liberal political platforms like same-sex marriage, taxpayer funded abortions and contraception, feminism, pacifism, and big government.

“The danger is this distorted, liberal theology breaks down the moral values outlined in Scripture. It also encourages young Evangelicals to deny Judeo-Christian principles used to establish a just, prosperous nation.

“Right now America’s youth—in and outside of the church—need leadership. If the brakes aren’t applied immediately to the Christian Left, then the next generation is on track to abandon the moral foundations and ethical principles that have made America great.

“If U.S. Evangelicals disengage from the public square and fail to engage the rising generation, then we risk losing our public voice, then our religious liberty, and then liberty altogether.”

Distortion: How the New Christian Left is Twisting the Gospel and Damaging the Faith will be released by Frontline on September 2.

64 Responses to New Book Warns of Evangelical Left Influence on Millennials

  1. MarcoPolo says:

    I understand your fears, but I also believe that the durability of our national integrity and moral foundation will survive any Left leaning influence that is prevalent today.
    Personally, I think it will strengthen us, as a Nation!

    The things you mentioned, “same-sex marriage, taxpayer funded abortion and contraception, feminism pacifism, and Big Government”…these things aren’t going to destroy our country, or its morals. Nor would we be less judicious.

    Of course, we should all buy, and read your book, so as to get a thorough understanding of your point.

  2. kenhowes says:

    My main concern is not these individual causes but the underlying principle behind all of the Left’s demands: what we think is “nice” trumps God’s Word.

    • Namyriah says:

      And, “nice” gets defined by the squeakiest wheels – an unpleasant noise that many foolishly confuse with the voice of God.

  3. kellykullberg says:

    Thanks to Chelsen, and Mark Tooley, for following the money from atheist George Soros to the “religious Left.” Very deceptive. Wallis denied it ’til caught. Then he said, “I forgot.” Richard Cizik, “Faithful America,” funded by culture-wrecking Soros.

    • Wallis has always been a leftist, from his earliest days at Trinity Seminary in Deerfield, IL. I was there at the beginning when he started the Post American. Glad someone is finally blowing the whistle on him theologically.

      • Hope Forpeace says:

        Where does Jesus teach that we should arm up well so that we can kill whomever we think deserves it, as the Christian right teaches today.
        The right also teaches that the poor are poor because they are lazy and have no personal responsibility .. when did Jesus ask for a resume before he fed people?
        When did Jesus teach “Shoot thy enemy – if your enemy is thirsty – all the better – stop his supply lines and starve him out”??
        The wholesale hatred of the right – the lie machine that says all liberal Christians are evil God haters, the reason for the decimation of our nation .. is a blasphemy in itself.
        It won’t stand.
        The rich whom you serve have decimated America, conservative Christians.

        • Don’t think the Christian Right (whatever that is) teaches “we can/should kill whomever we think deserves it.” I’d like to see a footnote or two on that. Traditional Christians have never surrendered the God-given right of self-defense, which is a response to violence. BTW, if you want to take the approach to personal violence of always “turning the other cheek,” that’s a wonderful position and I wish you well. But please don’t try to make it either the standard for any nation’s domestic or international policy. You’ll find no Scriptural warrant for that.

          • Namyriah says:

            She seems to enjoy shooting at straw man. I’ve been around evangelicals my whole life, have yet to see any evidence they hate anyone, but the straw evangelicals sure do.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            Listen to any right wing conservative pundit talk about liberals.

            If you can;t hear hate you must be deaf.

            “Liberalism is a mental disease”?

            Yes, we can hear you out here.

          • JBubs says:

            That quote is actually “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder” and it is from the title of Michael Savage’s book. Savage is Jewish.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            YOU know it well – thanks for making my point.

            And tho Mike is Jewish – he also uses the teachings of Jesus as a tool of hate and mockery:


          • Most of the hatred I hear comes from people who vilify others with straw man/straw women arguments. It’s the soft hatred and soft racism of lowered expectations, a philosophy which sees a seeming majority of people as needing a handout from some government source (which means the government has to take it from a private citizen since the government in and of itself doesn’t make anything).
            I also hear the hatred in the public statements of the race hustlers such as Jesse Jackson whom I first heard speak at my college in 1971 (he’s been hustling race for a looonnnnggg time).

            We’re now seeing the poisonous fruit of that hatred in the Knock-Out Game being played out by Black youth in our major cities. So yes, if approached in such a fashion, it is legal to defend one’s self…against a legitimate threat that is clearly recognized by law…and not just on an emotion of fear.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            “vilify others with straw man/straw women arguments”

            Does the right teach that you should be well armed?

            Do conservative christian pundits speak at NRA rallys?

            None have lumped guns with religion? Are you sure:

            “the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gold & Tax Cuts.” Look that up.

            Yes or no?

          • Andrew says:

            You stated earlier that Christians believe in arming and killing anyone we please. That is a blatant lie, never heard any Christian or any conservative pundit say any such thing.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            ” killing anyone we please.”
            I said anyone who you think deserves it – which is what the conservative supported “stand your ground” law means.
            If you fell threatened, you can shoot. 100% accurate.

          • Alex Soderberg says:

            You don’t believe in defending yourself? That’s very sad. I think that’s called “cowardice.”

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            I believe God defends me.

            Believing I must own a gun to defed myself or God will not defend me, THAT is cowardice.

            The land Jesus lived in was occupied. It’s likely He saw many violent acts carried out before his eyes.

            Does He ever teach that you should defend people with violence?

            No, He sows the soldiers ear back on and says His Kingdom is not of this world.

          • Kay Glines says:

            If you believe God defends you, does that mean you don’t lock your doors at night?

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            I know the difference between wisdom (locking your doors) and taking my own vengeance and teaching others to do the same.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            Why do you think Christians (Sarah Palin and other oftten speak at NRA rallys and are very publically viocal about their pro-gun stance) arm up? Self defense is given as one reason.

            If you feel threatened, and are well armed, you can shoot someone if you feel you need to stand your ground.

            Is that not correct?
            Oh, if I want to follow the teachings of Jesus – that’s fine with you, but I shouldn’t expect the Christians who say they are the only Christians to do the same?

            Jesus taught how treat your enemy … you know what it is – it’s not invade their country so private contractors and make bank and you can kill anyone from another religion…. you should look that up.

        • Namyriah says:

          That is so PC, I hope you were being sarcastic. Right?

          If you’re confusing Christianity with the Dimocratic party platform – well, that’s a shame.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            “Dimocratic” ?? What does that mean?

            Don’t you notice how the religious right supports being well armed in case you think you need to shoot someone you think deserves it?

            They do.

            You’ve never heard the myth about how the poor have no personal responsibility and if we give them aide it just makes them lazy?

            Is it not the religious right that calls for a new groundwar in Iraq?

            Are you sure?

            From out here it sounds like the right teaches that Obama and all liberals are God hating, America hating commies.

            This very book serves this narrative: “political platforms like same-sex marriage, taxpayer funded abortions and contraception, feminism, pacifism, and big government.”

            AS if the right has the Biblical high ground.

            Yet this is equally true:

            The right serves political platforms like tax legislation that serves the rich and harms the poor, full deregulation which also serves the rich, neoliberalism, blaming the poor for poverty, warmongering (live saline abortions for born humans) paternalism, arming up and teaching people they should shoot their enemies, actively opposing the least of these and disrespecting greenhouse gas science, supporting the continued use of fossil fuels that will decimate the human race in a few generations.

            The religious right serves the military Industrial complex and the rich and demeans the poor, blaming them for their poverty.

            They also, of late, have taught that anyone not like them is godless and should be hated .. as they actively deny the teachings of Christ.

          • Andrew says:

            I am pro-choice on guns. If you don’t like guns, don’t own one. What other Christians do is not your business, unless it clearly violates the teachings of the New Testament. There are several soldiers in the New Testament, such as the centurion Cornelius, presented favorably, and no indication that they had to lay down their arms in order to become Christians.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            If what other Christians do is not my business, maybe it’s not the business of the author of this new book complaining about what other Christians do.

            Did Jesus teach “Shoot thy enemy”?

            or did He teach a far higher standard (broken by many on this page):

            “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

            “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

            If Jesus believed in armed rebellion, He would have led one. If he believed in a self defense, He would have taught it. Instead He said “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.”

            He did lead a rebellion, a rebellion that calls you to lay down your life for others as He l;aid His down for you one the cross.

          • Alex Soderberg says:

            Turning the other cheek is a Christian act.

            Allowing a burglar to rape or murder your family members – that’s not Christian, that’s cowardice.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            Please reference Matthew 5 here and use the concordance tool.


            “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person”

            Resist: to set one’s self against, to withstand, resist, oppose

            Why? Do you remember? Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.

            I know today it is a tenet of salvation in many ways to believe that we must be well armed, guns and Bibles and the constitution, right?

            But how much faith do you need when you are well armed?

            How much faith do you need to believe that Jesus defends us and every moment we have is in His hands regardless?

            I take God at His word, He will never leave me or forsake me. That’s believing the Word.

            Please cite where Jesus teaches that one should arm well to defend others? Thanks.

          • JBubs says:

            Don’t feed the trolls.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            Don’t call your sister with a valid Spiritual opinion a troll.

            1. You make my point.
            2. “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”
            Ephesians 5:4

          • JBubs says:

            You make mine, “Sis”.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            THe words you read now are dangerous as your will be held accountable for what you know.

            Here we see how the great hatred is seated.

            To be accepted as a Christian by the author of this book and any on the religious right, I must believe:

            The rich must get richer and we should work to make sure they do.
            The poor are lazy and should have all government aide removed from them.
            We are in a holy war with muslims.
            The least of these should go home.
            I should be well armed so I can shoot people if I think they threaten anyone.
            Science which tell us that the group we serve – rich oil men are killing off the human species with their product, as a Christian I must support the killing off of the human race for profit.

            Look up it. You are now responsible for this information on That Day.

        • Andrew says:

          I’m a conservative Christian, I don’t feel decimated.

          • Hope Forpeace says:


            “The rich whom you serve have decimated America, conservative Christians.”
            I didn’t say conservative Christians were being decimated.

    • Wallis has always been a leftist, from his earliest days at Trinity Seminary in Deerfield, IL. I was there at the beginning when he started the Post American. Glad someone is finally blowing the whistle on him theologically.

    • MarcoPolo says:

      Having read the link provided by Kellykullberg, I’m still not sure that there is any problem. After all, the Right has it’s financial supporters in the Koch brothers.
      I’m surprised that anyone of faith would find a problem with support for issues that help people. Isn’t that what Jesus would do?

      • Namyriah says:

        We don’t regard making people dependent on welfare to be a good thing.

        Find a copy of the New Testament, read the story of the temptation of Jesus, the first temptation was to turn stones into bread, and he declined. Christianity is about meeting people’s spiritual needs. We are not called to be social workers. No Christian could possibly support the American welfare state, since it exists by robbing from some people and giving to others – that is called “theft” and is condemned in the Bible.

        • Hope Forpeace says:

          “We don’t regard making people dependent on welfare to be a good thing.”

          When did Jesus ever teach that feeding the poor makes them lazy?

          And what you may not know is the conservatives economics called “Supply-side” or Trickle up – is a main reason for the poverty in America.

          Trickle up has helped the top 1% take more than 60% of the nation’s income, moving the wealth of the nation upward.

          When Reagan passed his trickle up – which was written by the rich through the supposedly Christian Heritage Foundation’s Mandate for America – the bottom 80% owned more than twice the the % of wealth we do today.

          The bottom 80% now owns 4.7% of US financial wealth and we lose more and more every year as our wealth trickles up and becomes entrenched among the families the Christian right supports – The Kochs, Adelsons, Pope, Coors, Shaife, Olin families – to name a few.

          Conservative Christians HAVE HELPED CREATED THE POOR, THEY NOW SAY ARE TOO LAZY TO BE FED, through supporting more power and wealth for the rich and their corporations and supporting the lie that the poor are lazy and deserve to die in the streets without aide.

          Please read that you will be saved or damned by how you treat the least of these.

          The theft has been the rich stealing from the poor – and you are trained to support it.

  4. Melissa Windom says:

    So many of the younger evangelicals have no memory of a time when divorce was rare, hooking-up was looked down on, and homosexuals weren’t flaunting their lifestyle. They’ve never seen anything but the “if it feels good, it can’t be wrong” culture. Sometimes, talking to people in their 20s, I feel like someone from a different planet.

    • Hope Forpeace says:

      Remember when the working class took the majority of the national income and tax rates for teachers making $35K a year were lower than for billionaires making $289 million? That was before Reagan and Heritage Foundation’s “Mandate for America” .. which actually mandated trickle UP??

      • Namyriah says:

        Out of curiosity, what denomination are you?

        • Hope Forpeace says:

          When I was a fundamentalist, I was pretty much non-denominational. I was saved in a 4 square church, but went on to be a member of different home led and Vineyard CFs. Now I Have no church – there is no charismatic liberal church.

          • Andrew says:

            The familiar “ex-fundamentalist” phenomenon.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            Do conservative Christians generally mock others?
            Know a tree by it’s fruit.

          • Alex Soderberg says:

            The fruits are all in the liberal churches, so you are correct. They drove all the Christians out.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            Oh? There are no Christians in the liberal Churches? Are you sure?

            The Iraq war is a a fruit of the conservative church.

            They never could have pulled that off without it’s massive support. The hate filled mockery of people like Mark Levin, Sarah Palin, Allen West .. that’s the fruit of the conservative church.

            Trickle up and it’s poverty, neoliberalism, turning back the least of these children so they can go die at home, the threat of killing off the entire species through the use of a product that people you support sell ..

            that is the ultimate fruit of the conservative church – the end of the human race.

          • Andrew says:

            Um, pardon me, but as a member of a conservative church, I have no clue why you would say the Iraq war was due to conservative Christians. My pastor has never spoken on the issue, not once. Left-wingers tend to assume that conservatives obsess over politics as much as you do.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            Conservatives Christians massively supported Bush’s call to war.

            I was an fundamentalist Christian at the time. I saw it from the inside.

          • Kay Glines says:

            That is your experience. I agree with Andrew, my own pastor never even made a passing reference to the Iraq war. You must be assuming that all evangelicals are alike.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            I provided a gallop poll showing Christians supported the Iraq war.

            Did many in your church not support the war?

            Have you not seen the rifle scopes with Bible verses?


          • Fran Brunson says:

            If you chose to leave Christianity, that is fine for you, why do you feel this compulsion to convert others to your side?

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            When I see material like this book, I believe it is my duty to speak the truth about it.

            And I didn’t say I left Christianity, I said I left conservative Christianity.

          • Kay Glines says:

            Liberals who call themselves “Christian” mock conservatives constantly. So you have a double standard.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            “Other people do it” is not a great excuse. I don’t believe liberal Christians have media as powerful as conservative media to even make the claims you’re making? Are liberal Christians teaching that conservative Christians are mentally ill and should be destroyed? Can you give a citation for your claim? I bet you know I can.

          • Kay Glines says:

            No one is saying that liberal “Christians” should be destroyed, you are being very melodramatic and silly. The truth is, the left-wing churches are bringing about their own extinction, and it will not be a loss, spiritually speaking.

          • Hope Forpeace says:

            Yes, you’re right, thank you for pointing out, I didn’t mean anyone really means to kill liberals. But I do think this thinking is prevalent; “Liberalism is a mental disorder” Mike Savage wrote the book. His family is Jewish, he does not state he is Jewish, but uses the teachings of Jesus.


            …. as explained by Ann Coulter. She’s on Hannity and other Fox shows frequently and claims to be a Christian.


            Isn’t the only reason something is not a spiritual loss if destroyed is if it’s evil? I do think liberal politics and Christianity is viewed as something like evil, if not evil itself. Do you?

  5. Hope Forpeace says:

    Yet somehow serving the rich, like the Kochs, and believing the lazy poor are the reason for poverty – warmongering and disrespecting science is the only Christianity accepted by the right.
    “Don’t feed the poor, it makes them lazy” Republican jesus
    “Arm ye well that ye may shoot thy enemy” Rj
    “Blessed are the jobcreators” Rj
    Conservative Christianity has been usurped by Corporations to push their agenda – more wealth for the rich, lower wages for the poor, more $ spent warmongering and the eventual total collapse of human civilization through carbon heat forcing (climate change) ..
    unless I adhere to these I can not be saved according to Rj.
    Watch out .. Jesus is coming, and He wants His religion back ….

    • MarcoPolo says:

      Well said, Hope Forpeace!

    • Alex Soderberg says:

      By all means, please tell us how we conservatives “serve the rich.” I never sent the Koch brothers a penny. On the other hand, through taxation – stealing out of my earnings – I do support lots of left-wing causes – better known as “the federal government.” See the difference? Right-wingers are supported by voluntary contributions, liberalism runs off tax money, i.e., stealing from productive citizens. The Bible says stealing is wrong.

      • Hope Forpeace says:

        Sure. The Kochs Father Fred cofounded the John Birch Society in 1958, combining religion and the business agenda of the rich, Austrian Economics. Tax cuts, tax loopholes, deregulation, privitization and the ability of the rich to buy influence in government. Many far right conservatives/libertarians joined the agenda, like Weyrick and his Mandate for America, which Reagan implemented 80% of.

        If you read any credible economists today – Stglitz, Picketty, Wolfe, you find these, and offshoring of jobs (also supported by conservative tax policy) are the drivers of the trickle up economy we have today where the top takes the vast majority of the national income and pays it’s workers below a living wage.

        Kochs founded and funded many of the think tanks that teach the religious right like Americans for (koch) Prosperity, Freedomworks(topaylowwages) Cato, and they spend 100s of millions supporting other think tanks that preach the same – esp Faith and Freedom.

        When you go out your front door everyday, do you want a society with roads, police, education, fire departments? What kind of society do you want to live in? One where the poor die in the streets, education and security only exist for those who can buy them?

        The idea that taxes are stealing was taught to you by the think tank culture I reference. Did Jesus teach that paying taxes was allowing theft? He did not. Welfare (grain allotments) existed in Jesus day – did he ever mention it made the poor lazy? Never.

        Jesus said warmongering was sin, that is clear. Live by the sword, die by the sword and our greatest command is that we should love our enemy, not kill all of his innocent relatives as we did in Iraq (100K – 1 million civilian dead, we have no idea how many, we don’t count their dead).

        I am forced to pay for that through MY taxes.

        “stealing from productive citizens” This is exactly what the Kochs wrote for you to believe. How do you think Jesus will view His people preaching the agenda of the rich that is destroying the poor?

  6. Brian Paul says:

    You can’t fight progressive politics usurping the Gospel with Traditional American Values usurping the Gospel.

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