Home Institution

Williams College

Publication Date

Fall 2006

Program Name

Nicaragua: Revolution, Transformation, and Civil Society


Evangelicals now comprise approximately 20-25% of the Nicaraguan population, but the Nicaraguan political system has remained dominated by the specter of the Roman Catholic Church. As a result, in the 1990s, some evangelical leaders, including ones who had previously been vocal opponents of political involvement, sought new outlets for political participation. I claim that the evangelical political movement has drawn on three justifications: a struggle against political marginalization, a crusade for “traditional moral values,” and a fight for economic betterment.

Here, utilizing interviews with 18 Nicaraguan Protestants involved in Christian political or social movements, I trace evangelical political parties though the 1990s, focusing on the successes and failings of the Camino Cristiano Nicaragüense (Nicaraguan Christian Path) party. I show that efforts to establish an evangelical political party have faltered for lack of transparent leadership, lack of a coherent plan of government, and lack of homogeneity within the evangelical community. I then examine the roles of evangelicals in the 2006 presidential campaign and conclude that future efforts by evangelicals to secure political power will likely operate within the structure of the major political parties.


Politics and Social Change | Religion


Article Location