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Past and Future of Evangelical Christianity in American Politics

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Past and Future of Evangelical Christianity in American Politics

When Sen. John McCain chose Gov. Sarah Palin for his ticket, it reignited an ongoing debate about the role of social conservatism in the Republican Party. Conservative heavyweights like George Will, Peggy Noonan, David Brooks and Christopher Buckley say the Palin pick could spell a long stay in the political wilderness for the GOP. Others like Bill Kristol, Pat Buchanan and James Dobson argue Palin is the future — and a possible savoir — of the Republican Party.

Christian Evangelicals have dominated the Republican Party since the early 1980s, but many observers — conservative and progressive alike — now wonder if their influence will continue to endure in American political life. 

Frank Schaeffer is a filmmaker, writer, publisher and blogger for The Huffington Post. He's the author of numerous books, including most recently, Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back.

He made headlines in October when he wrote an op-ed entitled An Open Letter to John McCain in which he chastised Sen. McCain for what he called “stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters” at McCain/Palin rallies. Frank Schaeffer himself descends from Evangelical royalty. He and his father, Francis Schaeffer, are credited as evangelical pioneers who brought their religion into the public square.

As a child, young Frank lived in a Swiss religious enclave founded by his parents. He told Jerome what it was like...

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