The Political Conversion of New York’s Evangelicals

The Political Conversion of New York’s Evangelicals
The New York Times
November 14, 2004

The signs are all around. Storefront churches dot the commercial landscapes of the Bronx and Queens. Twice as many churchgoers – about 15,000 – pray weekly at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, compared with five years ago. Some 200,000 New Yorkers tune in daily to Radio Vision Cristiana, an AM radio station. And last March, thousands of evangelicals gathered on the steps of the State Supreme Court in the Bronx to protest the idea of same-sex marriage.

Evangelism is flourishing not just in the red states of the nation’s heartland, but in the urban, liberal stronghold of New York City, where thousands of evangelical churches are anchored in working-class neighborhoods. Whether it will evolve into a local political force, as it has nationally, remains an open question. But a range of interviews with pastors, congregants and religious experts suggests that a new debate – and perhaps a political conversion – is taking place in parts of the city’s minority neighborhoods, swaths that Democrats have long claimed as their own.

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