Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Evangelical Democrats

Ted Olsen over at Christianity Today has asked the question of why exit polling never asks Democratic voters if they are evangelicals:

If any exit poll anywhere asked Democrats if they identify themselves as evangelical/born-again, I'm not seeing it. I'm sure Howard Dean, Leah Daughtry, Jim Wallis, Katie Barge, and others aren't happy. But journalists (who call the shots on what questions get asked) shouldn't be pleased, either. There's a lot of talk tonight about how evangelicals are shaping the Republican ticket. There ought to have been some discussion about how they're shaping the Democratic ticket, too. After all, a third of evangelicals vote Democratic.

The clear answer is that Democratic evangelicals have no impact on what happens in the Democratic party. If a third of evangelicals vote Democratic, they haven't shown that they have any major disagreement with any major Democratic candidate or with secular Democrats. They have not led the way on any issue. The faith of Democratic evangelicals apparently doesn't make a difference in who they support with their votes.

The faith of evangelical Republicans, on the other hand, does make a difference. There are candidates they do and don't support because of the candidate's view on life, embryonic stem cell testing, traditional marriage, and religious freedom of expression. And evangelical Republicans have been leaders in the political fight on all of these issues.

If evangelical Democrats want to have a role in shaping politics and policy, they need to find a way to shape the political agenda in ways that stand out from Democratic secular standards.

No comments: