How Democrats lost the Evangelical
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
So, what do you think?
Respond to this column the first few months by clicking here.
Keith Drury March 6, 2007