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Are Young Evangelicals Flocking to an Edited Justice Conference?
"Core issues of social justice based on historic Christian teaching are being specifically avoided because they are perceived as hot buttons." -- Chelsen Vicari, Director of IRD's Evangelical Action Program

Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Thousands of young Evangelical Christians are set to descend upon Los Angeles February 21-22 for the Justice Conference, an annual event to promote dialogue around justice related issues such as human trafficking, slavery, poverty, HIV/AIDS and human rights.

The conference, a project of Evangelical organization World Relief, is strong on addressing issues of human trafficking, but gives almost no attention global persecution of Christians, marriage or sanctity of life. Sojourners, Bread for the World, InterVarsity Press and Eastern University are among the sponsors.

At the 2013 Justice Conference in Philadelphia, IRD's Kristin Rudolph reported how author Sheryl WuDunn gave an address about the growing problem of gender imbalance in birth ratios, but ignored the main cause: sex-selective abortion. Similarly, at the 2012 gathering, pacifist activist Shane Claiborne targeted military spending as a budgetary culprit, with no mention that spiraling entitlement growth threatens to leave future generations saddled with debt. Leftist Evangelical Jim Wallis of Sojourners is a speaker this year.

IRD Evangelical Action Director Chelsen Vicari commented:

    "Although the Justice Conference is positive in its ability to reach young Evangelicals, I am concerned that important core issues of social justice based on historic Christian teaching are being specifically avoided because they are perceived as hot buttons.

    "Based on my own experiences as a young Evangelical college student who attended many Christian conferences, I know that what will shock orthodox Christian parents, pastors and leaders is not so much who is teaching at Christian conferences, but rather what is being taught.

    "Last year, Justice Conference speaker Sheryl WuDunn intentionally omitted abortion from her speech on global discrimination against women and girls. Not once in her 40 minute talk did she mention sex-selective abortion as even a contributing cause to the imbalanced gender ratio.

    "Conference organizers' repeated invitations to liberal speakers -- while sweeping under the rug those Christian justice challenges to the broader culture deemed politically incorrect -- justifiably will cause many raised eyebrows."