A fundamental shift is transforming the religious right, long a force in presidential politics, as aging evangelical leaders split on the 2008 race and a new generation of pastors turns away from politics altogether. The immediate short-term result could be a boost for former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who supports gay right and legal abortion. Long-term consequences could deny the GOP an essential building block previously used for capturing the White House five out of the last seven presidential races.

The term “evangelical” refers to Christians, which includes many denominations, but despite their diversity, evangelicals are a crucial Republican voting bloc. During the last three years, however, many Christian conservatives have begun to feel uneasy about politics and the pulpit.

One-third of evangelicals under 30 told the Barna Group they are embarrassed to call themselves believers.



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