Is Racial Justice Becoming a Priority for Evangelical Voters?

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LifeWay Research measures political support for the issue for the first time.

Most evangelicals don’t consider themselves single-issue voters, and new data suggests racial justice may play a big role in political conversations among believers.

According to a LifeWay Research survey, a majority of evangelicals by belief are committed to pro-life values and racial justice. Both issues can be political dealbreakers.

In the report released today, 52 percent said they “will only support a candidate who a wants to make abortion illegal” and 64 percent said they “will only support a candidate who will fight racial injustice.” Self-identified evangelicals reported similar stances, with 52 percent requiring a pro-life candidate and 66 percent requiring one against racial injustice. LifeWay’s designations represent a multiethnic sample.

Lead researcher Scott McConnell noted that abortion still outranks racial justice on a short list of significant issues for evangelicals. Yet, Christians on both sides of the political spectrum agreed that growing attention around racial justice as a political priority would represent a shift for white evangelicals in particular.

“It would be an invited change,” said Justin Giboney, a Democratic political strategist and cofounder of the AND Campaign, an effort calling Christians to advocate for both social justice and “values-based policy.”

Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress, a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, said evangelicals care about racial justice, but it’s a “false dichotomy” to suggest Christians “are going to try to fight for social justice instead of the rights of the unborn.” He predicted Trump’s evangelical support will increase in the 2020 election, based in part on his …

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