3/05/2007

How Democrats lost the Evangelical Christians

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24 comments:

Denniston said...

I'm not going to do the "I was the first to comment thing". (although in my not doing it, i'm actually doing it :)

Anyway on to my comment: Do you think that the fact that Democrats favor more social programs, which can be seen as stepping in on the churches turf has hurt them? I've heard people say that as the govt has raised taxes to pay for social programs tithing has gone porportionally down (no evidence just hearsay)?

Larry said...

How about this one: Democrats went from sticking up for the average guy (the union guy, small business owner, kid working through college) and started defending every conceivable expression of personal liberty (such as late-term aboriton, and homosexuality).

A question for Keith: Why are evangelicals so concerned about personal moral issues (homosexuality, abortion) and so little concerned about corporate morality (care for the poor, national debt, healthcare)?

Dan said...

Perception or reality, it matters little in politics...

1-The voice of the "extreme left" has been more audible than that of the "extreme right" thus, the term "liberal" is equated with God-haters, Hollywood immorality, New age tree huggers, and communists.

2-Though you mentioned it, I don't think you overstate the impact of Dr. Dobson, Cal Thomas, Chuck Colson and the other godfathers of evangelicalism...and they lead the charge because they are convinced of the above.

3-Democrats have never been the party of military strength...like it or not, the majority of the country wants a strong defense.

While they can't/won't change on the issues you mentioned overnight, little by little changes are starting...abortion is first. (and in my opinion, the most profitable single step politically)

Kadie's Dad said...

I wish that I wasn't a "one issue" voter but I just can't bring myself to vote for someone for who can say "i believe in a woman's right to choose." The thought of someone not being enraged by abortion enrages me.

But the question is what are "right wingers" like me going to do in 08 when, as of now, the top contenders lean towards pro-choice and pro-gay marriage. If they are the same on my few "litmus test" issues why not vote for a dem?

Matt Guthrie said...

The whole political/religious relationship has always been interesting to me. I grew up Republican because my parents were and Reagan was president. During seminary, I became aware of the actual overlap of some typical issues supported by the Dems that are good ol' Biblical justice issues. I even voted for the Dems on occassion. Ironically, afer seminary, I ceased to do so because I was involved in inner city ministry and I witnessed the enslavement that entitlements held on the people. Now that I'm back in the 'burbs, I have become staunchly conservative.

My dilemma is the same as everyone else's. Neither party has the Christian ethic cornered for them alone. You then have to make a choice as to which flaws you will overlook. By and large, African-Americans will vote Democrat because of the social justice/entitlement slant despite hating just about everything else about the Democratic party. I will most likely vote republican (and hope and pray a real conservative steps up) because despite the appearance of not caring, etc. I really believe that mental paradigm will do the country more good in the long run than the other choice. This won't be a popular choice especially among your younger readers, but I've found it to be true that the older you get the more republican you become.

In response to Denniston, the social program aspect of the Dems is not a stepping on our turf issue. Many aspects of how they operate those programs does more harm than good (see my inner city comment above).

dan said...

I think a problem is that many Conservative Christians view big government as a "sign of the times." That Big Brother is going to lead to the anti-Christ and that the one world order will result if we are not careful of where our government is going.

so the Dems just lucked out on that one....

James Petticrew said...

"cigared his way into places he didn’t belong" ... Keith that is a classic line!!

Two other points as a non-Americans, those of us outside the States never got the Reagan thing. We just couldn't understand how he was so popular and yet appeared to us to be so dumb. (yes I admit European prejudice but he was a conundrum to us as is "folksy" George W)
Second did you know the REALLY important election of 2008 is in May when it looks like the Scottish National Party could become of the ruling party in Scotland and go for an independence referendum thus causing the demise of the UK? (ok I admit a Scottish prejudice on that one)
PS ... As Tony is going to be out of job soon, you don't fancy him as a presidential candidate? After all you have already taken one image conscious Englishman past his best (Beckham)

Mark said...

I can see a sequel post "...And How Republicans Did Too." There's very little moral conviction in politics these days~ it's more about a passion for power. We are courted to get to the polls and then forgotten once results come in. When do we wake up and realize the foolish game played every 4 years??

Craig Moore said...

I have not been a Republican because of religious issues. I have not voted for Democrats because I do not think that socialism or government enforced redistribution of wealth is a good economic theory or ethical. Government confiscation of what I earn and redistributing it to someone else is a proven failed economic policy. Yes, to Democrats it seems moral to compel those to give according to their ability to those according to their need. But at the same time consider it immoral to take away a woman's right to choose or a gay peron's choice to marry a same sex partner.

And, as Keith said, every odd-ball radical group seems to find a home in the Democratic Party.

randy.dewing said...

Dan says:

"3-Democrats have never been the party of military strength...like it or not, the majority of the country wants a strong defense."

I'm perplexed by that. That statement just doesn't stand the test of history. ...Unless I'm misunderstanding the word "never" to mean a longer time frame than it actually does :)

I'm a Republican, but I have read my history.

glennknepp said...

A bigger issue, sadly, may be civil rights for minorities. When the Democrats held half of the Evangelical voters in the country it was pre LBJ, MLK, and Civil Rights.
When the south flipped Republican in the early seventies (mainly over its anger with Civil Rights) so did evangelicals (the greater part of whom reside in the south were a civil cultural Christianity has strong hold.) No Southern Evangelical would readily admit this, but I think this in tandem with your notes explains much.

John Mark said...

You are pretty much right on here. I would add that the Dems lost their hold on the media as far as conservatives go, or even libertarians, but that presumes a thing or two that most libs or Dems would flatly deny.
I suggest a follow up column on whether or not you think Republicans can hold on to the Dobson crowd.

jim said...

Keith, you've almost convinced me to become a democrat. I posted something at jameswatkins.com very similar before visiting your site.

. . . . . . . . . .

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards told Beliefnet, "I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs. I think he would be appalled, actually."

Edwards went on to say that Jesus would be upset with the country's willingness to go to war "when it's not necessary." He's also against teacher-led prayers in public schools, but he added that "allowing time for children to pray for themselves . . . I think is not only okay, I think it's a good thing."

The former North Carolina senator noted that he had lost his day-to-day faith in college, but it "came roaring back" in 1996 after the death of his 16-year-old son, Wade.

. . . . . . . . . .

I think Jesus would be "appalled" with both parties!

You can read my complete rant in my March 6 post.

Jim

Dan said...

randy...
the precursor to my comment was "perception or reality" I was referring to current political perceptions,...guess the word "never" tripped you up. I'm not talking about FDR, Wilson, or others from history, I'm talking about CURRENT political perception which is the subject of this blog post. To rebut my own comment though, I didn't really say why I think this perception has lost the democrats evangelical voters. I think 'just war theory' runs deep in evangelical minds, making them more sympathetic to the party of strong defense...which isn't the democrats.

reedypeedy said...

I'm always intrigued when religious/evangelical christians sanctify hating someone and go out of their way to vilify them. That, in my humble opinion, is the very essence of anti-christ.

Denniston said...

To: Matt Guthrie
I'm not in disagreement with you on the fact that the way a lot social programs are run causes much harm. My original question was not with how the program is run, but if the govt by raising taxes has indirectly taken money from the church to do run their own programs. Thereby stepping on the churches turf.

Matt Guthrie said...

To clarify my earlier comment, I never really said why Dems lost evangelicals. I think it is because despite the perception that they care more about helping people out of there circumstances, the practical application has not worked. The republicans may seem less compassionate, but the system creates a better chance, even if the perception is that only the rich get richer.

Denniston, I don't think raising taxes has taken money away from the church therefore creating resentment. It has taken money away from people, therefore creating resentment in general. Except for the rich politicians, I've never met anyone, regardless of party affiliation, who said they were in favor of higher taxes - regardless of what they went to.

John Mark said...

A bit of a side issue, but personal income tax (on earnings) was shot down as unconstitutional before WWI, then resurrected a bit later at extremely low levels.
If either party wanted to show me how much they really care, they (Federal and State govts.) might learn to live on less, and take less of my money.

Eric said...

Keith,

George W. caught the mood of the evangelicals just right for 2000 (though he lost the pop. vote) and 04. The Democrats lost the Evangelical Christians for that cycle. I would say now that Evangelicals will be much more evenly split in the coming presidential race. There is now too much cynisism among evangelicals for there to be a repeat of the support W. enjoyed in 00 and 04. Rudy is the front runner (for the moment) and socially, he may as well be a democrat as far as evangelicals are concerned. So from the vantage point of Dems and evangelicals, things are looking up....

E. Hallett

OnceaWes said...

Seeing how Democrats are to Republicans what the Montagnards were to the Girondists in Revolutionary France I can hardly get myself to excited over either party. The matrix now like the matrix then is characterized by two parties that are dedicated to the same end with the only difference being one party is revolutionary in its methodology towards the ends it is pursuing while the other party is methodologically using incrementalism to pursue the same
end.

Both parties now believe in Centralized Government. Both parties believe in the Welfare State. Both parties believe in Government education. Both parties believe in Faggotry in high places. Both parties believe in global Empire. Both parties are in bed with Mega Corporate America. Both parties are pro-unrestricted immigration.

If there is a difference it is that Republicans are National Socialists that want to take their National Socialism internationally while the Dems are International Socialists who want to infect this country with their International Socialism.

The problem with vanilla evangelicals is that they continue to think that there is a difference between these clowns.

OAW

Ken Schenck said...

Fun post. Jim Wallis has made an interesting offer to debate Dobson on whether global climate change is something the NAE shouldn't be worrying about, given a comment by Dobson that the NAE should instead be focusing on the great moral issues facing the nation. I'm wondering if this issue marks the beginning of the decline of Dobson's influence since apparently (I'm not a scientist so I'm just going by the weight of those who are) those who have denied the issue will increasingly look to be very, very stupid.

If I'm wrong, then the scientific community itself will look very, very stupid in a few years. If I'm right, no amount of blah, blah, blah by Dobson's group will save him from history, which just doesn't care about what any of us say.

P.S. The same is true for those who have "blah blah blahed" in defense or in opposition to Bush's presidency. History will pronounce its verdict with no impact whatsoever on it by my or anyone else's commentary. Isn't truth a scary thing?

Anonymous said...

I would wonder why evangelicals are so concerned about homosexuality when they have higher divorce rates,and can't seem to keep their own families together. It's easy again to point to the mote in another's eye without perceiving the beam in your own. If they so highly prize families and marriages then why aren't they keeping them together and thinking about the kids? And what about the abortion issues ?Just what exactly are the evangelicals doing to address the issue?How about Family planning and responsible sex practices like birth control which they are in effect undermining. If you want less abortions people need to be educated in responsible and safe alternatives that will curb that tendacy or at least lessen the chances that women will opt for abortions. I am a democart and I don't see myself as a far left liberal , more of a moderate liberal.But I don't see advocating abortion as the main means of birth control. I also am not against prayer in school but perhaps a compromise on this issue rather than an all or nothing solution, that respects the rights of religious people but also those who choose not to pray, so my belief is why not make prayer volunatary rather than mandatory. If there was more room for compromise between both parties we may not have such divisive politics. But I also admantly support separation of church and state and do not support a theocracy based society, go to countries like Iran and other Moslem countries and you will learn what theocracy is all about. You lose the constitution and you'll be walking down the street fearing for your life ,afraid of being arrested for saying the "wrong thing". Want to know what happens to people in countries like Iran? They get thrown in jail or worse. And another thing that I disagree iwth is why don't evangelicals care more about the middle class than the rich?And what about the environment? What do you think our children will say when we've left them the mess we made?

Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to be rude but perhaps the republican party might fare better if they had a few more moderates in the house.

robertdawalt said...

Montagnards were to the Girondists in Revolutionary France !!!!!

I sincerely doubt that you could be a true Democrat and work at IWU.
Actually, you could do God's work right there, stop IWU from a bunch of arrogant greedy holier than though right wing wierdos and convince them to be more like Jesus, loving, giving and humble.