*”Thou shalt not overspend” is rapidly becoming a tenet of the evangelical belief system, rivaling social issues like gay marriage. Can the gospel of thrift save our economy?

The priorities of white evangelical Christians, about 60 million strong, have driven the culture wars for decades. It was they who formed the Moral Majority in the 1970s, which helped elect Ronald Reagan in a landslide in 1980. And it was their children-some of them, anyway-who strayed from their parents’ interpretations of faith and helped elect Barack Obama in 2008. Politically active, evangelicals have fought with varying degrees of success against abortion, same-sex marriage, and the teaching of evolution in public schools.

But a recent study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows that white evangelicals may, in fact, have more pragmatic concerns than their reputation indicates. “They, like everyone else, are concerned about the $14 trillion national debt. And true to evangelical principles, it’s an issue they have started to talk about in moral terms.
According to the Pew report, released earlier this month, most Americans are pessimistic about the economy and believe the government should cut spending, but at the same time want it to spend more on education, health care, and veterans’ benefits. White evangelicals are concerned about the deficit, too, but the way they want to deal with it is with spending cuts that are somewhat less merciful.

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