The once hard-right Evangelical Christian movement is waxing centrist, the New York Times reports, as a new breed of religious leaders breaks from an abortion-and-sexuality-obsessed old guard to tackle broader nonpartisan issues like AIDS, and even liberal-leaning ones like Darfur and global warming.
Baby-boomer pastors especially are focusing mega-churches on humanitarian issues over the hot buttons of Jerry Falwell's generation. "The evangelical movement is growing up," says one minister. But abortion, a potential stumbling block for Rudy Giuliani's pitch to the Republican base, is still a core issue. "This remains a pretty socially conservative group," one pollster warns.