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?

The Finger in the Mirror


We hear the word repentance bandied about in Christians circles, and in some of those circles, it’s practically a mantra. The list of things we Christians need to repent from is an arm long, filled with things like lust, jealousy, faithlessness, failure to tithe, lack of a decent quiet time, etc.

We also hear pastors and parachurch leaders going on and on about the culture wars. Each day seems to bring a new call to arms from some ministry or self-appointed Christian leader to pray and/or write our political reps over homosexual marriage, abortion, Obama’s health care package, illegal immigration, the rise of Islam and jihad, and so on. The list is nearly endless.

But what I NEVER hear is a combination of the two messages that asks Christians to repent for our complicity in helping to empower the very culture war problems we fight. Never.

A friend sent me a call to prayer for the gathering of Muslims due to take place Friday, Sept. 26, 2009,  in Washington, D.C. Evidently, Islam is trying yet again to market itself as the religion of peace, even as it promotes Sharia law, says little about terrorism,  and advocates a host of legalistic follies that oppose the Gospel of Grace and send millions into a Christless eternity.

When I read that call to prayer arms, I had to ask the question that Christians in America avoid at all cost: In what ways am I at fault for this?

A few thoughts to consider:

  • If American Christians had continued to follow the way of Jesus in ministering to the sick, would we have the health care debate now tearing our country apart?
  • If American Christians had continued to follow the way of Jesus in caring for the orphan, the widow, and the elderly, would we have abortion on demand and a nearly bankrupt Social Security system?
  • If American Christians had continued to follow the way of Jesus in visiting the prisoner, would we have a sky-high recidivism rate?
  • If American Christians had continued to follow the way of Jesus in caring for the poor, Do we truly believe He is the answer?would we have government welfare and the burden of having fostered a society-wide victim mentality?
  • If American Christians had continued to follow the way of Jesus in loving the outcast, would we still be fighting the homosexual agenda on its proponents’ terms or battling race and illegal immigration  issues?
  • If American Christians had continued to follow the way of Jesus by actually obeying His  Great Commission, would we be fighting Islam in this country or dealing with any of the culture wars we seemingly can’t wait to engage with calls to prayers and letters to our congressman?

I would offer that the answer to these and other questions like them is a simple NO.

I would offer that we Christians are as much to blame for the condition we find ourselves in as any of our supposed foes are, but you won’t hear that from the pulpits or from parachurch ministry leaders.

When the Church of Jesus fails to do what the Gospel asks of us, something will fill the vacuum created by our absence. And I can guarantee this: We will not like what fills the vacuum.

Honestly, the denial on our parts sucks the life out of me. And yet we will go on and on about our foes, the way the government does things we don’t like, or the next moral truth to come under assault.

We talk about our nation being a Christian one, but in truth, we’re Christian in name only. If we’re not living the Gospel, then of course everything will go to hell. Why would we be surprised at that?

Do we still believe that Jesus changes lives? Do we believe that Jesus is the answer to all of life’s issues? Then we better stop living as if we don’t.

The Real Sins of Sodom


'The Destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah' by John MartinOn Monday,  I wrote concerning Christians who err by judging the failings of others while simultaneously forgetting to examine themselves to check for their own complicity in those failings.

Today, I want to look at the notorious city of Sodom.

Long the hallmark of wickedness, Sodom is repeatedly held up in the Bible as an example of how NOT to live. And if you’ve been around American Evangelicalism long enough, you’ve been drilled on the exact reason God destroyed Sodom. (Hint: We get the word sodomy from this particular association.)

If you’re still lost on the reason, Genesis 19 is the standard text. Lot’s life in the city and what befalls him, his divine guests, and his immediate family are laid out for all to see, as are the despicable actions of the denizens of the city of Sodom:

The two angels came to Sodom at evening. Lot sat in the gate of Sodom. Lot saw them, and rose up to meet them. He bowed himself with his face to the earth, and he said, “See now, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, stay all night, wash your feet, and you will rise up early, and go on your way.” They said, “No, but we will stay in the street all night.” He urged them greatly, and they came in with him, and entered into his house. He made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter. They called to Lot, and said to him, “Where are the men who came in to you this night? Bring them out to us, that we may have sex with them.” Lot went out to them to the door, and shut the door after him. He said, “Please, my brothers, don’t act so wickedly. See now, I have two virgin daughters. Please let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them what seems good to you. Only don’t do anything to these men, because they have come under the shadow of my roof.” They said, “Stand back!” Then they said, “This one fellow came in to live as a foreigner, and he appoints himself a judge. Now will we deal worse with you, than with them!” They pressed hard on the man Lot, and drew near to break the door. But the men put forth their hand, and brought Lot into the house to them, and shut the door. They struck the men who were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves to find the door. The men said to Lot, “Do you have anybody else here? Sons-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whoever you have in the city, bring them out of the place: for we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before Yahweh that Yahweh has sent us to destroy it.”
—Genesis 19:1-13 (WEB)

Cut and dried, right? Homosexuality was the primary reason God destroyed Sodom.

Well, maybe not.

I was reading in Ezekiel today and came across the following passage. The context is that God is chastising His chosen people for being even more sinful than the wicked nations that surrounded them:

“Behold, everyone who uses proverbs will use this proverb about you: ‘Like mother, like daughter.’ You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and her children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. And your elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you, is Sodom with her daughters. Not only did you walk in their ways and do according to their abominations; within a very little time you were more corrupt than they in all your ways. As I live, declares the Lord GOD, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it….”
—Ezekiel 16:44-50 (emphasis mine)

What is fascinating about this passage is that God explicitly names what it was about Sodom that caused Him to destroy them:

1. Pride
2. Excess food
3. Prosperous ease
4. Lack of love for the poor and needy
5. Haughtiness
6. Practicing an abomination

While not explicitly named, the abomination that was practiced surely included homosexuality.  Exchanging heterosexual practice for homosexual is an abomination because it mocks the created order and the character of God. (I have written about this previously in “Sex and the Created Order.”)

But for us Christians in America who love to hold out the homosexual agenda as the worst possible thing to happen to our country, please note the five explicitly named sins that preceded the sixth.

I can wait while you read the list again.

When I read those top five, they nearly define American Evangelicalism circa 2009.

The pride of having somehow “arrived” with our Christian radio stations and our Jesus T-shirts, the Time and Newsweek cover articles proclaiming our ascendancy, and the whole of our Evangelical subculture that seduces us into thinking that we are somehow living in the world but are not of it

The gluttony evident by the number of morbidly obese “saints” who never met a pantry they didn’t like or an all-you-can-eat buffet they could ignore, and the hording of food that allows us to feel safe and well insulated against the “childish” idea of “Give us this day our daily bread”

The vacation homes, McMansions, iPhones, Playstations, spa trips, Christian cruises, and amassed luxury that we so often attribute to God’s imprimatur on our “righteous” lifestyles

The blind eye we turn to the destitute, the alien, and the least of these—the very ones who signify Christ Himself

The self-reverential belief that we are better than those around us who do not show the same outward manifestation of our blessings, and the certainty of heaven for us because we alone have done it right while our clueless neighbor has done every last shred of it wrong

Five devastating, explicitly named indictments of God against Sodom, yet for some reason, all we can think about is the sixth, because that final one applies to the other guy—you know, the flambouyant one with all the Streisand CDs.

Dear God, bring us to repentance before it is too late.