Monday, November 13, 2006

Social conservatives and Democrats

World Magazine has several posts on its blog this morning about the recent election. Evangelical and socially conservative voters behaved differently this time than in some recent elections, partly because some of the Democratic candidates who defeated Republicans aren't typical Democrats. Many of them won't fit comfortably with the dominant liberal and secular strain of their party. For instance:
"...North Carolina’s Heath Shuler, who won his House bid and began his victory speech by saying: 'I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.'"
Marvin Olasky writes:
"'I'm a lifelong Baptist and vote for Democrats. One reason? Democrats are serious about alleviating poverty.' That's what North Carolina basketball coaching legend Dean Smith said in newspaper ads before the election, and he's partly right. Partly, because Democrats, although often serious, have been ineffective—and how serious are those who repeatedly choose what sounds good over what is good?

Now congressional Democrats have to govern. Democrats for Life wants the party to change its abortion position and hopes that Bob Casey Jr. will lead the way—but how will Democrats for Death respond? Will Democratic leaders take seriously evangelical concerns, or will they be like those who last year held a seminar at the University of California-Berkeley titled,
'I Don't Believe in God, But I Know America Needs a Spiritual Left'?

It will be fascinating to watch Democrats try to make their tent bigger without alienating their Christophobic base. I hope they succeed, because America could use two parties that respect biblical belief, so that evangelicals aren't captive to one...."
And they quote from an interview published at Salon:
"National Association of Evangelicals officer Richard Cizik, explains why evangelicals crossed party lines on Nov. 7 - voting in Virginia, for example, against gay marriage but for Democrat James Webb: 'We want trustworthy leaders who will tell the truth,' Cizik said. 'We don't need to go like supplicants to the political parties.'"
And, in that Salon article:
"Talk to most devout Evangelicals, no matter how Republican-red their blood runs, and chances are they'll tell you that Jesus would never be a member of a political party, and that their faith, not politics, leads their vote....

According to the Associated Press, one-third of Evangelical voters supported Democrats this year, up more than 10 percent from 2004. And while many election-watchers predicted that sex scandals -- be they Mark Foley's or Ted Haggard's -- would keep Evangelicals away from the polls, they turned out in even higher numbers than they did to reelect Bush. Twenty-four percent of voters this year were born-again, up 1 point from 2004. And unlike in recent elections, Americans who attend weekly religious services voted in almost equal numbers for Democratic and Republican candidates."

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