Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Evangelicals adrift

Naomi Schaefer Riley says that efforts to pulls evangelicals leftward are meeting with resistance (at least of the foot-dragging sort), but that they’re also none too happy with Republicans. Her conclusion:

A recent poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life paints the picture: "Throughout Bush’s first term, party identification among younger white evangelicals remained relatively stable, but since 2005 the group’s Republican affiliation has dropped significantly--by 15 percentage points." The study notes, however, that "the shift away from the GOP has not resulted in substantial Democratic gains." In short, evangelicals seem adrift.

This development does not bode well for Republican turnout during next fall’s presidential campaign. And who can place a value on that?

Discussions - 7 Comments

In short, evangelicals seem adrift.

I am not an evangelical, but I find this statement just a bit naive. It's the GOP that is adrift. The Republican failure, going back to 94 where much was promised but not delivered (mainly, some sort of conservative governance) is felt by all, but especially those with a social conscious.

Recent history, with all the push for Rudy, only shows that the GOP has yet to hit bottom.

Constitutional party 2008, your about to get a few more votes, but nearly as many has "stay home" will in 2008....

Evangelicals are adrift from something far more important than political party.

As I said in a post below, I haven't met many of these liberal evangelicals. The liberals I have met are also theologically liberal, so it is part of a package.

In fact, the evangelicals I know are almost unthinkingly Republicans. They do not seem as motivated by politics as they used to after years of frustration.

Both are adrift. The Republicans because they have had weak leadership throughout all upper levels of the party since Gingrich resigned as speaker in late 1998. The evangelicals because too many of they are naive about politics -- naive, among other things, about the Democrats -- and have excessively high expectations for both principle and forward movement in the political arena. In short, there is a great deal of blame to go around. Both problems are very deep and won't soon be solved. What could, possibly, happen is a reawakening to the Hillary threat in time to beat her.

It has been my distinct impression that the Republican base and its leadership(?) have given too much credit, and credence, to the socalled evangelical influence and sway over the political future of the party and its chances in 2008. I agree with Dave Frisk's astute observations about what is wrong with Republicans.The practical progressive wing of the party should assert itself and declare war on the democrats and fight it out on their turf,facing the issues that divide us head on, rather than falling into the socalled "nuance trap" that too many Republican politicians have come to adopt from the opposition. Call a spade a spade and be blunt about it and we will surprise ourselves about the response from Republicans, whether evangelicals or otherwise, at the polls in 2008. The Republican candidate who is capable to evoke in us these basic emotions, on issues ranging from abortion to the war on terror, will win!

naive, among other things, about the Democrats

In what way do you think? Perhaps you mean that the Dem's are a serious alternative? I only see this coming from the "religious left", of which it is true a small minority of "evangelicals" are a part...

My story might comfort those who worry about evangelical drift from Republicans. Back in the 80s I was a Ron Sider-loving Democratic Socialist member of InterVaristy Christian Fellowhsip. In fact, I was a student leader in IVCF. Sider's big book is Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger . I loved the part especially where Sider goes on about the Year of Jubilee, where God mandates (in Leviticus, somewhere) land reform every 50 years. I still love it that that was part of God's law to Israel, something humanly impossible to pull off.

In my C-Ville PCA church, we had a guest pastor recently (from the Redeemer church-plant in Harlem) who was quoting Sider...and many in my congregation want to try to do Sider-like social-justice things. So this stuff is more in the air this season, and to some degree a healthy reaction against auto-pilot Republican identification.

But will it last? Young excited-by-Sider evangelicals will eventually get a little older, a little more informed about how complex poverty and enviromental degradation are, and experienced enough to understand the Democratic Party as it really exists. They will confront the fact that whatever it may say, it intends not to compromise a bit on abortion. And on embryo-destroying stem-cell research. And, more often than not, on church-state-separation juriprudence as well. And then there is the inconvenient fact that many of its key leaders detest evangelical Christianity. All the Barak Obamas and Jim Wallises in the world won't be able to hide the bottom-line Democrat realities forever.

If there ever are enough Democrats out there brave enough to say that Roe v. Wade really is a crappy decision, and that they are prepared to work with REAL pro-life Dems as equals, and to live with the consequences of Roe's fall, well, the fundamentals might change. But unless evangelicals lose their faith altogether, a Republican party that remains conservative will be their natural political home.

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