There is still, apparently, no united political position among many evangelical Christian voters related to a presidential candidate this fall.  According to this article, some leaders are backing McCain because they feel that, on the key issues they support, they “have no choice.”  They’ve made it sound like there was “no clear consensus candidate” among evangelicals in the primaries.  But the fact that they now feel that they must settle for less than what they could have had is due, at least in part, to their dithering during the primaries. 

There was a clear cut choice for evangelical Christian voters in the primaries.  His name is Mike Huckabee.  On the issues that this group identified as their “core,” Huckabee was the most solid choice.  The fact that many of these “leaders” chose to support other candidates based more on their economic conservativism than their social conservativism is baffling.  I think it also calls into question their overall “leadership” among the evangelical Christian right.  Among the 90 “leaders” who gathered in Denver, there were no real “heavyweights.”  James Dobson, arguably one of the most influential leaders among the Christian political right, isn’t on board with McCain.  And some of the more influential evangelicals, like Rick Warren, have taken a somewhat apolitical stance.  There isn’t anyone, among the others from the Denver gathering, who have that kind of influence.

The problem is that, for a long time, the expectation has been that a candidate who isn’t an evangelical Christian would still be able to understand, and support, the core issues of that constituency.  I just don’t think that is possible.  The opportunity to have someone in a position of influence who did, indeed, have a clear and concise understanding of those issues, and the people who support them, has come and gone.  And I think the evangelical position has been weakened, particularly by those who supported Romney.  It makes it appear that Christians are more interested in money than in their own core values.

Warren’s position may be the most practical, at least as far as the agenda of the Christian right is concerned.  By throwing their virtually unconditional support behind a single candidate in the past, evangelicals have been taken for granted and marginalized by Republicans who are almost guaranteed of their support.  There is no real pressure on candidates to perform once elected, so the core issues of evangelicals get shoved to the back burner.  Every now and then, politicians toss a bone or two out to keep the restlessness down.  And when the other party comes back in power, an inevitable situation, they do not feel obligated to do anything, since they feel that they get no support from that constituency anyway.  By keeping lines of communication open to both campaigns, Warren is opening the door to at least some progress for the Christian right even if there is a Democrat in the White House come January.


About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

5 responses

  1. Jack Matthews says:

    Heavyweights? Other than the LaHaye’s and Phyllis Schlafly, I don’t see anyone whose name I recognize. The comment that the only evangelicals who would support Obama are those who haven’t read the Bible is typical of the elitist attitude that Jerry Falwell was once noted for. I’ve run into an increasing number of evangelicals, particularly younger ones, who are giving Obama fair consideration, and aren’t automatically jumping to the GOP candidate anymore. And most of them read, study and believe their Bibles. This kind of stuff insults the intelligence, and causes backlash.

  2. Steve Austin says:

    Mr. Obama, from what I have been able to learn, intends to go further in his support for abortion than any other Democrat, and way beyond any honest Christian. We have learned of the horrific details of killing babes a-birthing, but that apparently isn’t enough for “Barry.” I have never seen an American politician actually support the Chinese method/timetable of waiting until the child is observable in appearance and motion, but I believe this is the prescription the presumptive President holds to. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  3. JoAnn says:

    Please pray for Lee as he has been in and out of the hospital twice in the last week. The last three weeks have been pretty frightening for us. We need prayers for Lee to be totally healed in the name of Jesus! I have to mention to you how our church, my Christian school(where I teach) and great friends all over the country have supported us through prayer and acts of kindness in a thousand different ways. We have seen the church stand up and act like the church!

    I am so sure that as soon as he gets home he will be writing blogging to you about the recent events.
    We take all the prayers we can get.

    JoAnn (Lee’s wife)

  4. Ken Coffee says:

    JoAnn, please know that many of us are praying for Lee. Thanks for the update.

  5. JoAnn says:

    Thank you, Ken for praying for us during this time. It meant so much to me that you wrote back to say you were thinking and praying for him. These days have been difficult days at best. However, we have seen him work in a million different ways to bring about so many miracles for us and other people. We are hoping for a release date some time this weekend. Pray for continued healing.

    In the last year I have tried to be a more vocal/visible witness to those I come in contact with on a random basis in a store, hospital or wherever. I have had many simple ways to share the gospel while God was teaching me about totally being dependent on Him for Lee’s health.
    Given a test I am not sure I would make an “A.” I am a work in progress I suppose. This time God really took me out of my comfort zone— a hospital! God does have a sense of humor!

    Blessings to all! Check back soon for Lee.