The Fifth Q'ing of Evangelicals
About 700 mostly young evangelicals convened this week amid the soaring Doric columns of the august Andrew Mellon Auditorium in the Federal Triangle of Washington, D.C. It was the fifth convocation of "Q," which aims to provoke cultural and political conversation among Christians. President Obama sent greetings by video. New York Times columnist David Brooks discussed humility, while his fellow Times columnist Ross Douthat talked politics. Conservative philanthropist Roberta Ahmanson discussed art. Southern Baptist leader Richard Land conversed with Evangelical Left activist Jim Wallis. NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty peered into the future of religion and the media. American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks defended capitalism, almost provoking an approving smile from the dour portrait of former Treasury Secretary and financier Andrew Mellon that graced the auditorium's entrance.
Immersed in slickly produced sound and light, amid the performance of stirring old hymns, "Q" founder and leader Gabe Lyons presided from the stage in a fashionably tight jacket, his bare ankles showing no socks, and a shock of blonde hair cascading over one eye. Other speakers replicated his mode look, and hipster Christianity was definitely de rigueur. An after party appropriately convened in the esoteric D.C. office space of Google. A temporary coffee house, always bustling, serviced "Q" across 3 days.
Ostensibly young evangelicals, discomfited by the culture wars of their conservative grandparents and leaders like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, are shifting somewhat left. A poll of "Q" participants showed not quite 60 percent opposing Obama's reelection, and just over 40 percent supporting. This result almost mirrors how young evangelicals voted in 2008, even while white evangelicals as a whole favored Republicans by over 70 percent. But even among young conservative evangelicals, or at least the activist elites, there is often a preference for non-controversial humanitarian causes over hot buttons like abortion and homosexuality. About 60 percent of "Q" reportedly professed no allegiance to a political party.Continue reading at spectator.org