Thursday, December 6, 2007

Is There Really an Evangelical Voting Bloc?

There was at one time, but there is no such entity anymore. We started to see a serious departure from the evangelical allegiance to the Republican Party in the '06 midterms, and I suspect we'll see more of the same in '08. Rick Warren, he of The Purpose Driven Life, offered Newsweek his take on evangelicals' past support of presidential candidates:
Evangelicals tend to vote for people who claim to be born again. Every president back to Carter—Bush One didn't make a big deal about it, but he would say that. What do all those guys have in common? Nothing, except that all six of them were, quote, "born again." It didn't matter whether they were Republican or Democrat.

He's right. I knew plenty of evangelicals who voted for Carter the Democrat simply on the strength of his claim to be born again; Ford the Republican never made any such claim, and he lost to Carter. Since then, every successful candidate has made that claim. The difference today, I think, is that many evangelicals feel that the born-again label has been so abused and so misused that it's become meaningless, especially among politicians trying to curry favor with this alleged voting bloc. It's gotten to the point where evangelicals may have to develop a rating system if they're going to vote solely on born-again status, a kind of spectrum from least born again to more born again to much more born again to really, really born again to absolutely, positively most born again.

Or we could all simply vote for the best person for the job. Just a thought.

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