The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good (NEP) was founded in 2010 by David Gushee (professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University) and Richard Cizik (a senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation and a leader of the “Young Evangelicals” movement in America). The Partnership encourages Christians to vocally petition America’s religious, economic, cultural, and political institutions to promote “the well-being of God’s world.” By NEP’s reckoning, such “well-being” can best be achieved by way of progressive public-policy initiatives.
A proponent of single-payer, government-run healthcare systems, NEP has been actively “involved in efforts to expand healthcare access in the United States and around the world.” The Partnership also advocates the implementation of “a more fair and humane economic order” predicated on wealth redistribution, to stamp out “poverty and economic injustice” both “here [in the U.S.] and around the world.”
Citing a divine mandate for mankind to “exercise stewardship over the earth and its creatures,” NEP is “deeply involved” in efforts to address the “major environmental challenges facing our world.” “Since 1995,” says the Partnership, “there has been general agreement among those in the scientific community … that climate change is happening and is being caused mainly by human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels.” Warning that “millions of people could die in this century” because of heat waves, droughts, torrential rains, and floods caused by climate change, NEP laments that “the consequences of global warming will … hit the poor the hardest, in part because those areas likely to be significantly affected first are in the poorest regions of the world.” To avert disaster, NEP calls for the U.S. to immediately pass national legislation “requiring sufficient economy-wide reductions in carbon dioxide emissions … such as a cap-and-trade program.”
NEP takes a firm stance “against human degradation and for the human rights of all people, especially the rights of the most vulnerable and despised.” Consistent with that position, the organization “enthusiastically endorse[s]” the Evangelical Declaration Against Torture, which calls for a “government-wide embrace of the Geneva Conventions” to protect all detainees from “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.” Further, NEP has urged President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a “thorough investigation” of allegations, brought forth by Physicians for Human Rights, that U.S. military and intelligence personnel during the Bush administration conducted “experiments utilizing ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on detainees captured after 9/11.”
A particularly significant core principle of NEP is its stand “against war and for peacemaking,” especially in the Middle East, coupled with its call for worldwide nuclear disarmament. Toward these ends, NEP states that it is “proud to work with the Ploughshares Fund.” NEP founding partner David Gushee derides “the Christian Right, which dominated evangelical politics from the late 1970s until 2006,” for having “never treated nuclear weapons and their horrible destructive power as a major moral issue in their portfolio.” “No,” he elaborates, “they were (and are) concerned about the ‘life’ issues of abortion, stem cells, and euthanasia, and the ‘family’ issues of pornography and gay marriage.”
An expression of NEP’s pursuit of Mideast peace is its “Muslim-Christian Dialogue” initiative, which proceeds from the Partnership’s confession that “in the past (e.g. in the Crusades) and in the present (e.g. in excesses of the ‘war on terror’) many Christians have been guilty of sinning against our Muslim neighbors.” For this, NEP begs “forgiveness” from both “the All-Merciful One” and “the Muslim community around the world.” Moreover, the organization celebrates the “core common ground between Christianity and Islam,” namely the “love of God and love of neighbor” that is allegedly central to the teachings of the respective founders of each faith, Jesus and the Prophet Mohammad.
NEP seeks to promote the foregoing values by way of public-policy advocacy efforts and “practical initiatives”; the publication and dissemination of research reports; the use of the Internet and other venues to issue “timely commentary to the media and the public on important issues related to the common good and the moral witness of evangelicals”; and the “building and mobilizing [of] a new evangelical constituency” with progressive inclinations.
As of July 2011, NEP identified 13 “partner organizations” with which it was affiliated. One of these was the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
For additional information on NEP, click here.