Sunday, May 11, 2008

An Evangelical Shift?

An interesting article on CNN suggests that some evangelicals may be moving away from their close attachment to the Republican party and aligning themselves with Democrats. This comes as many Democrats - as seen in the Presidential race - are talking more openly about faith and religion in a positive way.

For decades, evangelicals have been seen as solid supporters of the Republican Party. That could be changing.

The religious right, a cornerstone of the so-called Reagan revolution -- the battle over abortion law, and gay marriage -- wants a change.

At least some evangelicals do.

A group of influential Christian leaders are declaring they are tired of divisive politics, tired of watching fights over some issues trump all the good they could be doing.

"Our proposal in [our] manifesto is to join forces with all those who support a civil public square. ... a vision of public life in which people of all faiths -- which, of course, means no faith -- are free to enter and engage public life on the basis of their faith," said evangelical leader Os Guinness.

I am not sure exactly what to think of this. On the one hand, I think it is good for evangelicals or anyone really to not align themselves with a single party. What happens when that party begins drifting from its core principles, e.g. the current Republican party? No, it is better to look at individual politicians. Now it may be that the individual politicians you vote for may typically come from the same party, but if they nominate a pol for a position that you disagree with on important issues, why would you vote for them? The fact that they belong to the "right party" is not good enough. If their opponent is worse on the issues, that is one thing; but if they are worse because they belong to the "wrong party," then it is ridiculous to not vote for them.

I am also not sure about the Democrats talking more about religion. I have no problem with it if is genuine and honest, but if it is the typical political pandering then I don't want to hear about it. The conflation between politics and religion with the Republicans has been bad enough. Let me be clear that I have no problem with anyone's religious beliefs informing their decisions. What I have a problem with is when the two become one and the same and political office becomes a tool of the religious to wield against all who disagree with them. That is a problem.

I do hope that more evangelicals break their firm ties to the Republican party and take a more balanced view of politics. That can only be a good thing for everyone.

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