'Raw Politics': Religious right leaning toward Democrats?
By Tom Foreman
CNN Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- For decades, evangelicals have been seen as solid supporters of the Republican Party. That could be changing.
The religious right, a cornerstone of the so-called Reagan revolution -- the battle over abortion law, and gay marriage -- wants a change.
At least some evangelicals do.
A group of influential Christian leaders are declaring they are tired of divisive politics, tired of watching fights over some issues trump all the good they could be doing.
"Our proposal in [our] manifesto is to join forces with all those who support a civil public square. ... a vision of public life in which people of all faiths -- which, of course, means no faith -- are free to enter and engage public life on the basis of their faith," said evangelical leader Os Guinness.
For Democrats, the timing is good. The party has been pushing to overcome the "faith gap," that many feel has hurt them with church-going voters.
Candidates are appearing in more religious settings, and conversations.
"What I try to do is as best I can be an instrument of His will," Sen. Barack Obama has said.
"I obviously was fortunate to be able to rely on and be grounded in my faith which has been anchor for me throughout my entire life," Sen. Hillary Clinton has said.
Mara Vanderslice of Common Good Strategies is part of that effort.
"I think the biggest thing that we've done wrong is sort of say that we just want a separation of church and state and only speak about religion in terms of separation," Vanderslice said.
Evangelicals are now leading public support for many issues dear to Democrats: global campaigns against AIDS, hunger and poverty. Watch how evangelicals are reaching out »
Even Congressional Democrats can see the power of a partnership, according to the Ethics and Public Policy Center's Michael Cromartie.
"I think there are genuinely religious people, obviously in the Democratic Party, who've said, you know, 'we need to stop toning down how our faith relates to public policy issues,' whether it's the environment or whether it's questions of the economy or war and peace," he said.
"And we need to start framing our concerns in religious language so that it might appeal to religious believers in America."
Now, this is interesting. A couple of months ago, I posted a link to Politicalinaction.com. The blogger there put forth the premise that the GOP attacks on Obama had little to do with race, but mostly to do with religion. This blogger said that the GOP understands that Obama is the first Democrat in decades, that reeks of being a true Christian, and not just one that babbles about it. That though Obama couldn't get the hard right evangelicals, we should remember that a nice slice of evangelicals left the GOP in 2006 because of all the scandals.
That the YOUNGER evangelicals, especially, are not as rigid as their elders, and that someone like Obama could appeal to them. The supposition was - what would happen to the GOP if Obama was able to KEEP the evangelicals that left them in 2006, and just slice off a little bit more?
Game.Set.Match for the Democrats up and down the line.
I wrote this as a comment in a post down below, and but then went to The Daily Dish, which had a link about young evangelicals, which is why I put this forth in a main post.
Money quotes from the article:
Michael Dudley is the son of a preacher man.
He's a born-again Christian with two family members in the military. He grew up in the Bible Belt, where almost everyone he knew was Republican. But this fall, he's breaking a handful of stereotypes: He plans to vote for Democrat Barack Obama.
"I think a lot of Christians are having trouble getting behind everything the Republicans stand for," said Dudley, 20, a sophomore at Seattle Pacific University.
Dudley's disenchantment with the GOP isn't unique among young, devoutly Christian voters. According to a September 2007 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 15 percent of white evangelicals between 18 and 29, a group traditionally a shoo-in for the GOP, say they no longer identify with the Republican Party. Older evangelicals are also questioning their traditional allegiance, but not at the same rate.
But students at a recent bipartisan political union meeting at SPU say there's something more going on with young Christians than disenchantment with McCain.
In an informal poll of the political union, the majority supported Obama.
"I think it's a new movement starting," said Amy Archibald, 19, a sophomore at the evangelical school. "Most of us would never blindly follow the old Christian Right anymore. James Dobson has nothing to do with us. A lot of us are taking apart the issues, and thinking, 'OK, well, [none of the candidates] fits what I'm looking for exactly.' But if you're going to vote, you've got to take your pros with your cons."
Eugene Cho, a founder and lead pastor at Seattle's Quest Church, which caters to a predominantly under-35 crowd, urges young Christians to look beyond the two or three issues that have allowed Christians to be "manipulated by those that know the game or use it as their sole agenda."
"While the issue of abortion — the sanctity of life — must always be a hugely important issue, we must juxtapose that with other issues that are also very important," Cho wrote in his blog on faith and politics.
Polls have shown that young Christians aren't any less concerned about the "family values" issues that have traditionally driven Christians to the Republican camp. (In fact, a study by the Barna Group, an evangelical polling organization, shows young Christians are actually more conservative on abortion than their elders.) It's just that they're also concerned about issues such as social justice and immigration, issues traditionally associated with Democrats.
Judy Naegeli, 25, who works at a Christian philanthropy, says easy access to information about the world via social-networking sites, YouTube and blogs is the reason her generation is more concerned with social justice.
"It's changed our perspective. ... Each generation chooses their cause, and ours is AIDs in Africa, or poverty or social justice," she said.
You know you read stuff, and you go HMMMMMMM and then sit back and think about it, and it seems to make more sense?
Just like that HuffingtonPost.com's 'Obama bankrupted Clinton in Pennsylvania' premise....
This ' Obama can appeal to the evangelicals' premise is something that I think we need to consider, which is the reason for
a) the Muslim Smears
b) why The Right went apecrazy over Jeremiah Wright
The attempts to marginalize Obama as a Christian.
Just some food for thought.