Conservative evangelicals have grown more circumspect about their position as political leaders in the last decade. In his book Age of Evangelicalism, Steven Miller shows how evangelical norms, language, and votes exerted a disproportionate influence on national politics until very recently. Miller makes a compelling case that Obama’s election, after running as an “unabashed social liberal,” marked the end of the age of evangelicalism.More than anything, the legalization of gay marriage signaled conservative evangelicals’ political exile. In the last few years, they have published a spate of books about the need for Christians to live as counter-cultural witnesses, and the battleground has shifted to religious freedom so that [in their view] churches and other Christian organizations can practice what they preach in peace. This is a far cry from the bombast of Jerry Falwell and James Dobson talking about taking back the nation for Christ.
Though, says Dowland:
“I’m not sure religious freedom as a rallying cry will have much staying power as long as Christian Right leaders continue to apply it with such transparent selectivity.”