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"Whatever Happened to Fundamentalist Progressives?"

Blog or WebsiteA good question asked over at the Christian Alliance for Progress Blog:

"Whatever Happened to Fundamentalist Progressives?"

"If you had lived a hundred years ago, for instance, you would have experienced a similar theology from the fundamentalists but the politics would have been very different. The great populist of the latter part of the 19th and first quarter of the 20th century, William Jennings Bryan, who most people remember as the fundamentalist prosecutor in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, had a long and successful political career during which he railed against the moneyed interests of his day and on behalf of the common working person.

According to the William Jennings Bryan Recognition Project,

Bryan is credited with early championing of the following: (1) graduated income tax (16th Amendment), (2) direct election of U.S. senators (17th Amendment), (3) women's suffrage (19th Amendment), (4) workmen's compensation, (5) minimum wage, (6) eight-hour workday, (7) Federal Trade Commission, (8) Federal Farm Loan Act, (9) government regulation of telephone/telegraph and food safety, (10) Department of Health, (11) Department of Labor, and (12) Department of Education.

Now from that list of liberal political accomplishments, one would imagine that Bryan was probably a godless atheist, right? In fact, he was anything but, which was why he was the prosecutor in charge of convicting Tennessee biology teacher John Scopes for teaching evolution against state law in the mid-1920’s. Bryan’s theology was hardly distinguishable from Jerry Falwell’s or Pat Robertson’s today. But his politics were very different.

The understanding of Jesus that Bryan brought to the public square was a Jesus who was concerned about fair wages, fair taxes, fair working conditions, and the good that the government could do for its citizens. Bryan was also a world-renowned champion of peace, using his position as Secretary of State in the Wilson administration as a platform for peacemaking , rather than saber rattling."
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