Post-Election 2012: Sex, Race, Evangelicalism, and the Future

A week ago, we as a nation were set to decide several important political outcomes. A week later, those outcomes are decided, with the clearest message of all being that Evangelical Christians were repudiated convincingly at the polls. Whatever hubris existed in that voting bloc at the time of the 2000 elections has been wiped away, possibly forever, in the wake of the elections of 2012.

I wrote some initial thoughts on the 2012 election last week (“The 2012 Election Results and What They Mean for ‘Evangelical Christian America’”), but I wanted to throw out more musings and questions for those of us who are Bible-believing Christians who vote conservative.

  • Rod Dreher may have prophesied when he addressed the same-sex marriage issue. Absolutely read this: “SSM, Social Conservatives, & The Future.” The gist of Dreher’s contention is that social conservatives (Christian, in particular), have lost the battle against same-sex marriage (and other “traditional values” issues). He believes this will force the Republican Party to move center-left if it wants to compete politically. I believe Dreher is correct, which means a GOP/Evangelical divorce in the future or a weakening of Evangelicals on issues of abortion, same-sex marriage, and so on—and possibly both.
  • 2012 Electoral Vote Map Adjusted for Population

    2012 Electoral Vote Map Adjusted for Population

    While the election was close by popular vote, it was not by electoral college vote. Not only this, but it shows a country divided by the following:

Urban vs. Suburban/Rural

All Other Races vs. Whites

Women vs. Men

Younger vs. Older

Liberal vs. Conservative

In every pairing, the group on the left sided with the majority of winners.

  • The vote of women decided this election, for the most part (but see below). And with the popular vote in four states approving same-sex marriage, it raises the question of whether women, as a whole, are less negative concerning lesbianism as men are of male homosexuality. It would appear so. (Witness the election of lesbian Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin to the Senate, for instance.) In addition, this outcome begs for clarification on whether women are more likely to desire same-sex marriage for themselves than men are. If so, the only way to prevent further erosion of traditional family values is to appeal to women.
  • One “truth” we are always told is that Hispanic and Asian cultures are both strongly pro-family, largely allying with Evangelicals in rejecting the liberal social reconstruction agenda. The results from Election 2012 violate that supposed bromide. The question is whether the strong support Barack Obama received is the prioritization among Hispanics and Asians of a racial minority mindset over conservative family values. Further research on this issue is necessary, because the liberal social reconstruction agenda those two groups assented to has not been adopted by the GOP—yet. If Hispanics and Asians are voting for a candidate primarily because they identify with that candidate as a fellow minority, then race is moving to the forefront of politics again, trumping any other social agenda.
  • In that same vein, if the GOP had managed to snag just 10-15 percent of the Asian and Hispanic vote that otherwise went to the Democrats, the outcome of this election may have been dramatically different.
  • For all the talk from Evangelical pastors of black congregations who were incensed at the Obama administration’s wholesale attack on values those churches hold dear , they were totally ineffective at swaying their congregations to vote to support those values and reject the current administration’s finagling. One must also look at the Roman Catholic vote, in that RC leadership leans GOP, while the congregants themselves seem devoted to the Democratic cause. This divorce only highlights an increasingly obvious truth: Leaders of “conservative” churches are far more conservative than are their congregations, and their own hubris causes them to overestimate their influence on the folks in their churches.
  • Stats show Mitt Romney pulled more votes from conservative Christians than any GOP candidate on record, nearly 80 percent of self-identified Evangelicals. In addition, few Evangelicals voted for third party candidates. Obviously, Evangelicals worried more about the policies of Barack Obama than were troubled by Romney’s Mormonism. This is a disturbing trend since it seems that Evangelicals will vote politics above theological truth. Regardless of where you stand on Last Days theology, Christians who downgrade heresy are setting themselves up to side with future leaders of questionable doctrine, all in the name of political promises. Obviously, few are reading the Book of Revelation.
  • Those of us who voted third party or for write-ins saw one of the worst showings ever for such candidates. However, if the GOP does move center-left on social issues (see above), Evangelical Christians will be stuck. Yet imagine a scenario where a new political party united by Christian belief challenged the Democrats and Republicans. It’s not hard to believe that a less Evangelical GOP could draw off some Democratic voters, while a Christian-leaning party would give the two other parties a serious run. Perhaps, though, it is impossible due to too much factionalism within Evangelicalism to create a political party favorable to its causes. Still, should the GOP move center-left as I believe it will, a competitive third party based on the beliefs the GOP is soon to repudiate might actual make some inroads and win a few elections. I mean, Maine elected an independent senator, so it’s possible.

Those are my additional thoughts. What do you think about the above or about other issues pertaining to the future we conservative Christians now face?

by Dan Edelen

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22 Comments

  1. Don
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps, as Evangelicals, it is time for us to abandon our preoccupation with the political process and move on to building the Kingdom through the preaching of the Gospel.

    I haven’t abandoned my desire to be a part of the political process. I just feel that is now time for me to be identified as an “independent”.

    • Posted November 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Don,

      Yes. We agree. I’ve been saying this for years. I think the Evangelical obsession with ushering in the Kingdom through politics may be dead. (We can hope, at least.) I only hope that the vacuum forces us to do it God’s way and not just bunker down and ignore it altogether.

      • Posted November 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        Dire Dan: “I think the Evangelical obsession with ushering in the Kingdom through politics…

        This one really puzzles me, Dan, and looks a little like hyperbole. Do you mean this seriously? Through politics?

        I have yet to encounter anyone who sincerely thought that our dabbling in politics would be the route for the LORD to set up His Kingdom. (Hey, maybe some completely whacked out Neo-Puritans who are very heavily into Post-Millenialism might possibly be thinking this, but I suspect they are a tiny, microscopic minority.)

        I think that what was going on is more like a rearguard action. What evangelican wants his kids to be brainwashed by the educational system, so they come home telling their parents how wonderful it is for “little Sally to have two mommies, or two daddies, or two mommies and three daddies, or whatever permutation that include the kitchen sink or the horse”, or how everybody should get unrestricted access to abortions and condoms and sex toys and whatnot.

        Basically, I thought it was a battle over your family and what your kids are going to believe in life. Is it going to be Xnty or something like Moral Therapeutic Deism? The only real mistake was assuming that one of the political parties actually cared about these concerns, and that voting for them would accomplish anything. After being duped so many times, you would think evangelicans would learn by now.

  2. Bob Aarhus
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    >>“This is a disturbing trend since it seems that Evangelicals will vote politics above theological truth.”

    I’ll invoke Luke 16:1-13 here. Perhaps in the past Evangelicals could afford such a litmus test; the demographics indicate that is no longer the case. Therefore, and in light of the continued lackluster performance of third parties, I recommend we use our worldly vote to back candidates who will provide the best representation for our values overall, whether they be caring for the poor and oppressed, reducing suffering, defending life in all of its forms, or what have you. Adherence to a set of theological beliefs has not yielded gains in the past, and I do not see evidence that this trend will ever be reversed in the existing political climate.

    >>“Yet imagine a scenario where a new political party united by Christian belief challenged the Democrats and Republicans.”

    Thousands of denominations, and we think we can construct a new political party united by belief?

    Besides, we’ve seen the third party efforts, and they’ve failed spectacularly. The last third party candidate to get electoral votes was George Wallace in 1968. The major parties control the airwaves, control the debate forums, control the dialogue. “Successful” third party candidates (H. Ross Perot, John Anderson) had no strong party affiliation other than “None of the Above”. And in those cases, it was personality that dominated over party and brought them the recognition that continues to elude the Gary Johnsons of the world.

    No, a Christian Party would be a waste of time and effort. The candidates would be lampooned endlessly, marginalized ruthlessly, and most likely, cannibalized from within by people who hold theological truth (e.g. their theological interpretation) above political affiliation. Why set yourself up for failure?

    I agree with Don: we will never find satisfaction through the political process. I don’t think we’ll hear God saying to anyone, “When I was a candidate, you didn’t vote for me.”

    • Posted November 12, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Bob,

      I think we conservatives are past the point of winning elections, if slippery slope continues to prevail.

      Re: truth vs politics — I had one woman say to me, “I can’t in good conscience vote for Obama because he doesn’t worship the same God we Christians do.” When I explained to her that Mormons worship a god even further removed from Christian orthodoxy than Obama’s version, she said, “I’m voting for Romney anyway.” If only that one woman stayed the lone example of this I encountered, but that was not the case.

      We can say what we will about reasons and so on, but it’s the metainformation behind just such a disconnected justification that is disturbing to me. When a person makes such a two-step, any evil becomes possible because truth no longer informs practice. The Church in Germany did much the same tap dance back in the 1930s.

      Only the next time it might be someone worse than Hitler who makes Christians a bunch of promises.

      How is it that genuine evil gets into positions of power? The ones who can stop it find ways to excuse it because of an outcome they cherish more. I see the nascence of just such a thing in this last election. For those that wonder how nearly the whole world bows down to the one who will oppose the Lord, I believe this is how it starts.

      Re: Christian third party—I’m not advocating such a thing. I’m offering how it might be considered. And I’m sure there are people considering it even now, perhaps even the same dominionists who were calling all Evangelicals to move to South Carolina and take over the government there.

  3. Posted November 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Quick note, Tammy Baldwin is the Senator elect from Wisconsin, not the governor elect.

    I agree with much of what you are saying. I wrote last week ( http://thesidos.blogspot.com/2.....board.html )that we are going to see the GOP jettison evangelical values, such as they are, just as fast as they can. I am not sure how the GOP plans to win elections without their most reliable voting block but that is their problem.

    My personal opinion is that this is the perfect time for the church is disengage from the political process and focus on the mission of the church which has little to do with the political process.

    • Posted November 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Arthur, for the Baldwin catch.

      As to your post, yep.

      As to your opinion, double yep.

  4. Posted November 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    All the Republican Party needs to do is give the forty acres and a mule that it promised so long ago to all African Americans who can prove their ancestors were here prior to WWII. The federal government owns so many millions of acres it wouldn’t be all that hard to accomplish, and the socially conservative, Evangelical blacks would have a true alternative to the race baiting, baby killing, Sodomite promoting Democrat party.

    • Posted November 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      slw,

      I heard so much about the ire of the Evangelical pastors of black congregations. Didn’t budge the numbers one iota. Those pastors must not have been angry enough, I guess.

      • Posted November 12, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        They voted for Obama because “he is one of us.”

        It’s as simple as that, call it what you will.

  5. Dave S.
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    In my circles, people vote Republican because of the Democrats’ strong pro-abortion policies.. If we are really factoring the welfare of the least among us in our political thinking, that seems like a very reasonable position.

    • Posted November 12, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Dave,

      Anyone who assents to the destruction of the unborn seems capable of every evil known to man. I mean, they’ve already gone as far down that road as they can go. How much lower can they descend?

      • Posted November 12, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Once the light is rejected, the darkness has no bottom.

  6. Posted November 12, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    The GOP is already drinking the Kool-aid. They are as good for nothing as the Whigs, or the Mensheviks.

    Welcome to the United States of Sodom and Gomorrah. In a manner of speaking, the “Bolsheviks” now run the show, and they will continue to do so for the next 70 years if not longer. Get used to it.

  7. Posted November 12, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see the Republicans turning center left; more turning libertarian. If evangelicals and conservative Catholics tack to the center on economics and stay conservative on social issues, they could corral some old-school blacks and Hispanics and be in a three-way fight with a libertarian-GOP and Democrats.

    That economically centrist Christian third party would be unlikely, but feasible.

  8. David
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Christians really need to decide something: Who do we put our trust in, Christ, or Politics? Our job is not to “usher in the Kingdom”, that task belongs to God and God alone, and before He’s done this world, and all it’s political parties, will be ashes. Our job to is love God, and love others. Nothing else matters. NOTHING else matters.

  9. Posted November 22, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    It seems to me the GOP and Dems each are composed of discordant coaltions of constituencies. If the libertarian and Evangelical branches of the GOP may be about to diverge, I wonder if the Constitution Party might begin to have a more noticable impact?

  10. Chris Baumgart
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Voting for the greater good. Beyond God Himself coming down and pointing out the candidate that would do His biding according to the foundation he established as to keeping the tenants of benevolence working in the earth, it seemed the evangelical majority thought that “tending to da money” was a greater priority… Understanding the elements involved in the meaning of performing “triage” in critical situations concerning matters of priority -it is a fact that the uninsured and under-insured from health care was not even on the “to do” list for these evangelicals nor conservatives… in fact, Christians voting for the repealing of Obamacare were more than happy to leave other Americans to their life ending, life crippling illnesses and financial ruin from exorbitant hospital bills. Rather than “pride” working excuses out of this example of Scriptural neglect, to tend to the care of the “…least of our brothers and sisters…”(Matthew 25:31-46) -many should be searching their hearts coming to terms why they’re prayers were not answered, –because God DID give an answer–

  11. Charles
    Posted December 2, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Jesus was light in a dark world. He exposed the false teachers of his day as hypocrites. He said they strained gnats while swallowing camels. He taught and demonstrated that the whole world is my neighbor. And perhaps most shocking of all, He said we’re to love God with all our heart, soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves. I was raised Catholic and later had experiences in the Methodist and Baptist churches. I’ve attended the emerging church and some Southern Baptist churches. I’ve been a believer for years and yet I had to walk away from the church because by and large it does not practice what Jesus taught. In short, the Evangelical church is corrupt. They are always learning and never coming to knowledge of Christ. And because they’ve not embraced the truth and repented of their sins, they are prone to strong delusions. They have a form of godliness but lack the power. And so, instead of walking in faith, living in love, promoting the gospel and building the kingdom, they turn to politics. What’s worse they turn to southern strategy politics which is all about devaluing ‘the other’ and stressing several hot button issues that will stir up division and animosity. It’s truly sad that most Evangelicals are not even aware that their ‘values’ are not only unbiblical (and therefore antisocial because Christianity is a social contract with ‘the others’), their values are also quickly becoming irrelevant. Evangelicals stood idly by or even promoted candidates that espoused racism, reversing women’s rights and voting rights. This past election cycle showed that most Evangelicals are stuck in some other century when slavery was normal, women were pregnant and stayed at home, and when white males had the power. The Evangelical message is lost on a society that is more diverse and educated. And as noted more and more, the general population is turned off by the church, i.e. Evangelicals. Most people are able now to have a relationship with God and does not need a pastor. In fact, they have found out that if they desire a spiritual relationship and want to live in communion with their neighbors, they should by all means run from Evangelicals! And if Evangelicals are wondering what happened this past election, all they have to do is look in the mirror.

  12. Charles
    Posted December 2, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    And what of childbearing as the proper role of women? If Christian ‘family values’ hold this, surely Jesus affirmed motherhood as woman’s highest calling. He did not. Even when given a chance to glorify his own mother as mother, he does not. On one occasion when Jesus performed miracles, a woman in the crowd cried out, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” Jesus does not support this, answering instead, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” This explicit statement that childbearing is not a woman’s greatest blessing correlates with a complete absence in the Gospels of any statement by Jesus affirming motherhood as woman’s role in life. Rather than motherhood, Jesus affirms that a woman’s highest calling is the same as a man’s. excerpted from Hypocrisy: How The Religious Right Fabricates Christian Values and Undermines Democracy by Rosemary Agonito

  13. Charles
    Posted December 2, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    To my dismay, during this election cycle, I heard several African Americans Evangelical congregants who were not pleased with Pres. Obama’s stance on same sex marriage. That is a legitimate gripe I suppose, but they forgot that Obama was the President of the US, not the Pastor of the US. Which means that they (and many, many others) have forgotten that there’s this little matter of separation of church and state. So that no matter how vehemently one feels about same sex marriage violates their religious principles, no one can force their religious beliefs on others. That would be a theocracy which is not good or allowable. What some of these disgruntled folks forgot was that this same ‘us vs. them’ strategy was used to fuel racism against blacks and sexism against women. As a deterrent, our founders wrote this little ditty ‘we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’.
    And for any pastor who points ‘his’ congregants in a specific politician or political view should have his 501c3 status revoked. As for me, when I hear a pastor spout politics it’s a clear sign that they are in the flesh and God is not in them. And they are unfit for any biblical leadership position, i.e. the ‘blind leading the blind…both falling into the pit’. As for me (and apparently the majority of African Americans) and my house, we will honor our brothers and sisters whatever their sexual orientation may be…just as our founders intended.

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