How Democrats lost the Evangelical Christians


Let’s get one thing straight, I’m a Democrat. But I understand why most Evangelical Christian aren’t.  Thirty years ago Evangelicals were about evenly split between the Republicans and Democratic party—not so any more.  The Democrats simply lost the evangelicals. Here’s how, in my opinion.


  1. Republicans catered to evangelicals on school prayer. It was the first big issue. Neither party seriously planned to do anything about it, but Republicans were quicker to declare there “ought to be an amendment to the constitution if needed.”  The Republican’s pandering on this issue started the unraveling. 
  2. Republicans were slower to treat women equally.  Christian Evangelicals aren’t against treating women equally, they just came to that position slower. When the “Equal Rights Amendment” to the constitution was proposed (by Democrats) the Christians were told by their leaders that it would banish women’s toilets and force churches to have co-ed showers. This was nonsense of course, but when Democrats supported equal rights for women, Christians started to consider them “radical.” Besides, when this idea of treating women equally emerged it was seen as destructive to the home and family.  Of course, that was before all the Christians started sending their daughters to college and began to expect they earn a salary similar to males.
  3. Democrats took the wrong side in the abortion debate. Democrats have always been the party sticking up for the “little guy” against the powerful. In the abortion debate they picked the wrong little guy—the women carrying the unborn child, instead of the truly little guy—the helpless fetus inside this women. The mother had the power of life or death over her unborn child—what greater power is there than this?  Christians know abortion is wrong even without a good proof text. So when Republicans stuck up for the truly “little guy” and Democrats acted like an unborn child was nothing more than a fingernail arguing that killing the fetus was a “right” –even more Evangelicals fled into the Republican Party—or at least became “independents.”
  4. Evangelicals swooned for Ronald Reagan. No wonder—even the press loved him—Reagan was hard to hate even if you despised his policies. So, who can explain how a divorced Hollywood actor wound up being the hero of the evangelicals? Not me. But he did. And he swept a huge number of (especially southern) Christian democrats into the Republican Party.
  5. Bill Clinton illustrated Democrat morality.  I don’t think Bill Clinton is a fair example of Democrat morality, but he became “exhibit one” for many Christians. Here was a genius of a guy who couldn’t keep his hands out of the pants of the women around him. Evangelicals consider sex sacred—this is something the secular press can’t get into their heads. They think we’re all hung up over sex. That’s not true—we have sex more often and in more varieties than secular people have it (check the research). But we expect our leaders to have sex with their spouses and nobody else. So when bill Clinton snaked his way past his past then cigared his way into places he didn’t belong Christians said to themselves, “This is the kind of Democrat you want me to vote for?” And more fled. 
  6. Evangelicals came to hate Hillary Clinton. I can’t explain this. It is like the Ronald Reagan thing—there is just no explanation for it, but it is true. Evangelicals simply hate the woman and they won’t make up. Ever. They passed around rumors that she was power-hungry or that she was a lesbian. Then when she stuck with Bill and kept their marriage together they rejected her for not getting a divorce. Maybe she emits and “anti-evangelical musk” or something—I don’t know why, but she is the most hated person by evangelicals today. So more still left (and may yet leave) to flee Hillary.
  7. Democrats are less anti-gay-marriage than Republicans.  While virtually all politicians are anti-gay-marriage, Democrats are less so.  When the issue first emerged they took what was later to become Dobson’s position (civil legal unions—not marriage). They took this position too soon.  And, besides, the Democrats have Barney Frank. The Republican gays are quieter and Republicans send their child molesters home from congress. “Gay rights” is a turn-off to evangelicals—they’d rather be in the party that is less pro-gay. Like the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment), this issue became a “family issue” for many evangelicals, even though actually divorce is a greater threat to evangelical homes. Once again, the Republicans had the position more liable to evangelicals.
  8. Democrats became the not-faith party. Republican candidates claimed to be born again and testified to their spiritual experiences like it was prayer meeting night. Instead of matching this (recent) trend in politics, Democrats said nothing at all about faith saying they didn’t “wear their religion on their sleeve.”  They failed to realize how important sleeve-religion in to evangelicals. So, evangelicals came to assume that there was one “party of faith” and a second “party of unbelief.” Now which one would you join if you were a believing evangelical? No-brainer, they figured.
  9. Democrats failed to make faith the basis of their causes. There is plenty in the Bible (and among popular Evangelicalism) supporting environmentalism, care for the poor, not seeking your own country first and giving to others and treating them as you would be treated.  But the Democrats either do not know the Bible or they are bashful to make faith-based claims, so they didn’t speak up from a religious position reinforcing the image that Democrats are the party of secular unbelief.


There are probably more reasons why the Democrats lost their half of the evangelicals, but I’ll let you add them in response to this article. 


So, what do you think?


Respond to this column the first few months by clicking here.

Keith Drury   March 6, 2007