By Keith Pavlischek
After introducing us to Carl Henry, the bulk of Part I of Moral Minority focuses on the work of three activists and the “intentional communities” and magazines they founded in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
A chapter is devoted to John Alexander and his magazine Freedom Now, which was renamed The Other Side, another to Jim Wallis and his Post American, which was renamed Sojourners, and to Sharon Gallagher’s Christian World Liberation Front at Berkeley and the journal Right On, later renamed Radix.
All were profoundly influenced by the New Left radicalism — particularly that movement’s radical criticism of American culture and society. Swartz acknowledges that for the most part these evangelicals, to the extent that they even garnered the attention of the New Left activists, had no effect on the “movement” and — when they were noticed — were perceived as Johnny-come-latelies and pretty much held in contempt. To their credit, toward the end of the 1960s, however, they became disillusioned with the increasingly violent turn of the New Left. But apart from their rejection of the New Left’s advocacy of revolutionary violence to make political change, there was hardly any substantive daylight between the New Left’s radical critique of American culture and society. What is unmistakable is their strikingly naïve attempt to embrace that critique and baptize it with a sprinkle of low-church evangelical piety and spirituality.
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