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 2012 Election Results and What They Mean for “Evangelical Christian America”


Four more years.

Whether that phrase elicits joy or sorrow in you in the wake of the 2012 presidential election results says a great deal about you as a person and your future influence in America.

If you are an Evangelical Christian who votes Republican, today seems a far cry from just 12 years ago, when magazine covers and stories trumpeted that Evangelicals were hot and in control of America’s future.

No more.

woman voterThe demographics of America continue to flex, and this is what the election results tell us about who is really in charge:

  • Women
  • 18-45 years of age
  • Nonwhite
  • Urban (or college town)
  • Non-Evangelical

That demographic pwned all others and gave Barack Obama four more years. Today, we understand that the conservative white male has been consigned to the dust bin of American history. Any idea that such people run this country is now passé. Given trends in overall demographics within the United States, this will not reverse itself—ever.

Yesterday’s election showed three other trends:

  • Same-sex marriage restrictions that passed in two states less than four years ago went down to defeat
  • Legalization of marijuana passed in two more states
  • Prolife candidates who were cornered late with the question “What do you think about abortion in the case of rape?” went down to staggeringly bad defeats despite having led their opponents for much of the race

Abortion and opposition to same-sex marriage are hallmark positions for the majority of Evangelicals, with opposition to illegal drugs another definable (though less broadcast) position.

What is worrying for anyone who holds a prolife position is that despite the overwhelming opposition to abortion as a procedure, pro-abortion forces have a new weapon for derailing prolife candidates that is perhaps the most effective ever: the rape question. Until prolife candidates can answer that question without seemingly inserting foot in mouth, expect withering losses to continue.

And why is that question so effective? Because the new vote-deciding demographic is women of childbearing age who live in urban areas (or college towns). And they will mercilessly punish anyone who answers that question poorly. Worse, that question may even sway women who are not in that demographic simply because all women have a visceral reaction to anything dealing with rape. When it seems that male politicians condone certain aspects of a post-rape experience—well, the resulting backlash cannot be unexpected.

So where do Evangelical Christians stand as of November 2012?

The trends of the last few years are telling. Any political power that Evangelicals thought they wielded was always illusory, and the conceit of holding power only goes to show how low Evangelicalism has sunk with regard to genuine godly humility. What it will take for Evangelicals to wake up is anyone’s guess, though, as no amount of political pain seems to break through the arrogance.

Evangelicals don’t seem to understand the lives of non-Evangelicals, which is why Evangelicals continue to fail to connect with people who are different from them. Blame this on a bunker mentality. Honestly, how many liberal friends do most Evangelicals have? Why expect any influence at all then?

That lack of influence illustrates how Evangelicals have forgotten the root of their label: evangelism (though not to lead people to convert to a political party but to convert to Jesus). Evangelicals simply do not evangelize non-Christians anymore. And you especially will not find them evangelizing women 18-45 who are not born again and who live in cities and college towns. If Evangelicals were to stop plowing so much of their time and energy into political causes and start leading people to Jesus, that trio of causes so near and dear to them (upholding traditional heterosexual marriage, the sanctity of human life, and religious freedom) will take care of itself. How this reality continues to elude Evangelicals is damning.

Conservative Evangelicals failed miserably to help nominate a viable presidential candidate, with most of the supposedly workable alternatives proving to be ridiculously repellent to the average non-Evangelical voter. What must be avoided is a sense of persecution at being rejected. Instead, Evangelicals need to look at themselves and genuinely question whether it is Jesus who is turning off others or the personality of major Evangelical politicians. That distinction is critical, yet most Evangelicals don’t get it. Winsome Evangelicals exist, but a failure to place them on any national stage is a major failing of Evangelicalism as a whole. Instead, Evangelicals ended up stuck with a non-Evangelical presidential candidate who thinks God is an ascended man enthroned on the planet Kobol. One must ask what exactly was in that Kool-Aid they were drinking. One must also ask how much of their souls Evangelicals will sell to achieve by politics what they should be achieving through converting others to Jesus (see above).

Evangelicals must come to grips with their own diminishing demographic. Simply put, the Church is not growing in America. Having now slid into minority status, Evangelicals must pursue much soul-searching and honest reflection to find that humility they so need to rediscover. This loss of power is what it means to be a minority. It doesn’t feel good, does it? Still, if this second class position does not result in a refocusing on the main and the plain in Evangelicalism, if being a minority within a larger culture does not clean out the dross that is holding Evangelicalism back, then Evangelicalism is finished as a movement not just within American politics but within American culture, society, and religious affiliation. Period.

Evangelicals must learn that no political party is their friend. Selling out to the GOP has hurt Evangelicalism more than it can imagine, and Evangelicals must stop believing that any one political party represents them. Strange bedfellows have hurt the cause of Christ in America, and it is high-time the reflex to vote Republican stops. Evangelicals must support political candidates, regardless of party affiliation, who more accurately reflect the nature of God’s character and who perfectly answer how God can be known. Evangelicals must also realize that values voting is a major failure because it does not take into account all aspects of who God is. Picking and choosing values only further muddies Evangelicalism’s larger stance on what it means to be in Christ. All of who God is must be considered, and that means looking at aspects of God’s character Evangelicals have neglected. If Evangelicals were as well-known for championing the causes of the poor in America as they were for championing the cause of traditional marriage, perhaps those single, urban mothers who went en masse for “the other guy” might have voted differently.

I believe it is possible for America to return to greatness if born-again Christians stopped running around like headless chickens and instead focused on what is really important to the cause of Christ. If this latest election failing in the eyes of Evangelicals does not teach them anything, then we can forget ever seeing the American Church influencing our nation anytime soon.

The Real Reason Why Young People Are Leaving the Church


A few weeks back, I touched on the issue of the increasing loss of people under 30 years of age in our churches (“The Church’s Lost Tribe“). The post was less about my thoughts and more about reader explanations for why this well-documented loss is occurring.

I’ll offer my thoughts today, but first, one more commentator.

Skye Jethani, one of the ascending names in post-Evangelicalism, attempts to pin the reason on the Internet’s favorite whipping boy: right-wing politics. Or more specifically, the Religious Right / Moral Majority interpretation of right-wing politics. For more, read his “Christianism Leads to Atheism” post.

Jethani cites an article “God and Caesar in America: Why Mixing Religion and Politics is Bad for Both” and attempts to data mine it. But like a bad doctor who automatically equates all headaches with brain tumors, Jethani assigns blame to the symptom rather than to the underlying disease.

In Jethani’s post, he states young people today are more politically liberal than older people. But if recent figures in the GOP primary are an indication, this is more a media sacred cow than reality. The most conservative candidate running is Ron Paul, and the hidden story is that Paul is crushing all the other GOP hopefuls in the 18-30 age demographic, winning (at last count) that group in every state that has held a primary. (If the 18-30 demographic, which has never been consistently enthusiastic about primaries, actually got to the polls in higher numbers, this might be a different race.) Even more compelling is that Paul is drawing young people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and are disillusioned with that president’s broken promises.

What young people find compelling in Ron Paul is he’s not ringmastering a dog and pony show. There are no smoke and mirrors. With Paul, they see a man who is not a political reptile but an authentic conservative from before the neo-cons grabbed control. They see a man with a real plan and genuine vision to fix problems and not just talk, talk, talk. To young people, authenticity matters more than just about any other trait. As they see it, Ron Paul lives what he believes, and what he believes rings true to them.

Can you see where this is going?

Oddly, the title of Jethani’s piece is more accurate than what follows in his post. Christianism does lead to atheism because Christianism (which is to Christianity as truthiness is to truth) isn’t genuine Christianity. It’s a twisted clone, inauthentic to the core.

It’s not that young people don’t like the politics of churches today. What they can’t stand is the dog and pony show that our churches have become. Dog and pony showWhat throws Jethani and others is that Christian political maneuvering is nothing more than a natural outgrowth of churches gone bad. It rushes into the vacuum left behind when genuine Christianity is gutted. The political mess and the culture wars are symptoms, but they are not the root of the disease.

Young people aren’t stupid. They can read the Book of Acts too. And the Church they find there is radically unlike the American Church of 2012.

If you want to blame a demographic for stupidity, look at the 35-65 group. We’re the ones that created these bogus churches that are all fluff and no substance. We’re the ones who are not feeding the poor, not evangelizing the world, not living in community, not building up each other’s gifts, not looking out for the needy in our own ranks, and generally disregarding every characteristic of the Church in Acts that made it vital, living, and desperately necessary to the lives of those early disciples. Young people today are not interested in boarding a train that has derailed. That many of us with some “maturity” are is a sign of our own ignorance.

Here’s the kicker: More and more of us who have been Christians for decades are fed up with pointless churches. We’re sick of the show too. With so many churches not living up to the standard we read in Acts, my peers and I will be the next group to go missing.

Christian commentators are wringing their hands over young people who when asked what their religion is say “none.” Honestly, I say good for those young people. Because the last thing the Church needs is more religion. What we need is Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives and for the Church to stop with the sideshows and to start looking less like a carnival and more like the authentic faith it was almost 2,000 years ago.

If that happens, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the 18-30 year olds say, “What took you so long?”