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July 07, 2004

Barna on the Politics of Evangelical Christians, Conservatives, Liberals

The Barna Group tells us

Evangelicals are just 7% of the national population. However, they receive an inordinate amount of coverage during major elections because of their alleged influence in the political arena. Evangelicals were one of the most prolific supporters of Mr. Bush in the 2000 election: the incumbent received 83% of the votes cast by the group. (In the 1996 election, evangelicals were less impressed with the Republican candidates, giving Bob Dole 76% of their votes.)

In the forthcoming election, an even higher proportion of evangelicals - 86% - expect to cast their ballot for the President. (Only 8% plan to vote for Mr. Kerry.) The only voting blocks of similar consensus in their choice of a candidate are conservative Republicans (94% favoring Mr. Bush), people who voted for Mr. Bush in 2000 (88% again supporting the Texan), liberal Democrats (95% in support of Mr. Kerry), and blacks (77% of whom expect to vote for the Democratic nominee). Gay adults, who constitute 4% of the adult population, are the population group most likely to vote (93% expected turnout) but they are comparatively less unanimous in their candidate of preference (67% to 23% in favor of Mr. Kerry).

It would not be surprising if 100% of Christians voted for one party, or that a party received 0% of Christian votes. Indeed, that is what we would expect. Suppose you are in Germany in 1930. In the election that year, would it be alarming if no Christians voted for the Nazi or Communist parties? No-- we should hope for that result, since both parties were anti-Christian. It would be improper for pastors to preach against the Nazis from the pulpit, I suppose, but outside the church they should be active. And there is nothing wrong with distributing the church membership lists. Indeed, the churches could be quite neutral on this, and distribute their lists to all parties-- but the Center Party (the Catholic one) would get the benefit. [By the way: I would not be surprised if, to the shame of Christianity, Lutherans voted heavily for the Nazis despite Nazi anti-Christianity. But that says more about the sincerity of the Lutherans of 1930 Germany than about true Christianity, I think. Just look at the secularism of the German Lutheran church now, and you'll understand. ]

Going a bit further, consider the black vote. It goes 77% Democrat. That means black churches must be going heavily Democrat too. Maybe that is because of improper partisanship from the pulpit, but we might expect it anyway.

Posted by erasmuse at July 7, 2004 10:53 AM

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