When it died last April, at age fifty-two, the liberal Christian magazine Christianity & Crisis left a host of mourners. The symbolism of its demise occurring close to Easter was not lost on them, and there was speculation about whether it might be resurrected in some form.
Almost a year later, “There’s no phoenix rising,” says Leon Howell, who was editor from 1985 to 1992. Nevertheless, many social activists acknowledge its legacy. Founded by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and some associates as a voice of “Christian realism” in contrast to the then-pacifist Christian Century, it promoted the U.S. war effort against Hitler. Over the years it was a steady voice for social justice and a critic of U.S. government policies. C&C was the first non-pacifist Christian magazine to oppose the Vietnam War. Generations of religious social activists cut their teeth on articles by leading theologians. In recent years it searched out voices “from below” and was a forum for Native American, African-American, feminist, third world, and gay and lesbian writers....
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