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October 23, 2008

Evangelicals in the polls

Barna just released a poll that shows only 45 percent of "born again" voters plan for vote for John McCain while 43 percent plan to cast a vote for Barack Obama. Sixty-three percent of evangelicals plan to vote for McCain while 23 percent plan to vote for Obama.

Earlier this week, a Pew Center survey found that 67 percent of evangelicals for McCain while 24 plan to vote for Obama. Why the difference? The centers poll differently (the Pew Center looks at white evangelicals while the Barna poll includes African Americans), but the numbers are interesting.

Mark Silk points to recent regional Quinnipiac polls for McCain's lead among evangelicals: Florida (71-23), Ohio (59-32), and Pennsylvania (63-32).

Comments

Unless you don't think that African Americans can be evangelicals Barna's grouping would seem to be more accurate.

I did not believe you folks had such a fine point on things that there is really a difference between "born again" and "evangelical" After speaking to my little Sister, who is both "Evangelical and Born Again", and who keeps trying to find a Church where she can contribute and Worship without taking part in the anti- American and anti-Christ heresies of the "Joels Army", "Seven Mountains" "prophet and saint" driven bs that the "Dominionists" are driving---I understand a lot better. I looked it up and read about it. American Taliban. How interesting.

What your polls are showing is that when Black Human Beings are counted as Christians they tend to vote as Christ would have advised. For a man who reveres his family, loves his family, and has real Family Values. Not a misogynist old fart who left his first handicapped wife when she lost her "appearence value" and is on the public record calling his trophy wife "You C**T in front of Reporters.

I truly wonder what American Values you folks really DO have. Time for you to wake up and figure out which bunch of fleas are wagging your tail. Do you really think that God is Repo-blican? Do You really think that God is an American? Read your Bible, Jesus is of the HEART!

Nils Fredrickson

I have heard the word "Evangelical" slinged around so many times, especially during this election. Can someone please tell me what is an Evangelical? I have asked a couple of ministries this and there is not a solid answer; more of a yaba daba do response! All I know is that I am a "Born Again Christian". The phrase Evangelical makes it seems like it is a "special form" of Christianity that are more special to God than others. Is this the elect that I keep hearing about?! Plus the phrase is always associated with white Christians, so I don't understand any of this! I know there are Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Catholics,Protestant, etc. Even in those denominations, there are still subdivisions (Southern Baptist, AME, Oneness, Roman Catholic, etc etc)! It all just seems and sounds so silly! Why can't we all just be Christians (Christ like). We have all these divisions and divisions within divisions! I just don't understand what is happening. What is different or special about an Evangelical that politicians are so concerned with their vote verses the votes of CHRISTIANS periods!! For me I am simply a CHRISTIAN! Also, the polls that I see above can't be right!! African-Americans fill the churches on sunday faithfully! Are the polls taken above by African-Americans in Evangelical churches? So again, what is an Evangelical? No yaba daba do talk please! I honestly don't understand.

Here is your answer...I wondered the same thing. They are Christians just a bit more, not out spoken but they speak loud and clear that Christ is the only way. Hope this helps.

Evangelicalism is a theological movement, tradition, and system of beliefs, most closely associated with Protestant Christianity, which identifies with the Gospel. Although evangelicalism has been defined in a number of ways,[1] most adherents consider belief in the need for personal conversion (or being "born again"), some expression of the gospel through evangelism, a high regard for Biblical authority, and an emphasis on the death and resurrection of Jesus to be key characteristics.[2]

Main article: History of Evangelicalism
The term "evangelical", in a less commonly used sense, refers to anything implied in the belief that Jesus is the Messiah. The word comes from the Greek word for "Gospel" or "good news": ?????????? evangelion, from eu- "good" and angelion "message". In that strictest sense, to be evangelical would mean to be merely Christian, that is, founded upon, motivated by, acting in agreement with, spreading the "good news" message of the New Testament.

Historically, and in many parts of the world other than the United States and Canada, the term refers to the distinction between the Roman Catholic Church and movements following the tradition of the Protestant Reformation (referred to by Martin Luther as the evangelische Kirche or evangelical church).[3]

The contemporary usage of the term derives from a 20th century movement which was perceived as the middle ground between the theological liberalism in the Mainline (Protestant) denominations and the cultural separatism of Fundamentalist Christianity.[4] In North American usage the term evangelicals is nearly always used in this sense. Evangelicalism has been described as "the third of the leading strands in American Protestantism, straddl[ing] the divide between fundamentalists and liberals."[5]

The term is also used by some Protestant mainstream churches, such as Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which, confusingly, is not comprised entirely of evangelical churches. Other examples for this usage can be found in Canada (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada), Germany (Evangelical Church in Germany), and several other countries.

Evangelical politics in the United States
Main article: Christian right
Evangelical influence was also evident in past movements such as prohibition[13].

Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court decision rendered in 1973 preventing states from making laws that prohibit abortion, is the most prominent landmark of a new era of conservative evangelical political action, unprecedented in its intensity and coordination. It was not until 1980 that the evangelical movement came to oppose abortion.[14][15]

In the U.S. the Religious Right is especially influential in the Republican Party. George W. Bush, elected president of the U.S. in 2000, is a self-identified born-again Christian who received strong support from evangelical voters.[citation needed]

The mass-appeal of the Christian right in the so-called red states, and its success in rallying resistance to certain social agendas, is sometimes alleged as an attempt to impose theocracy on an otherwise secular society.[16] There are indications that the belief is widespread among conservative evangelicals in the USA that Christianity should enjoy a privileged place in American public life according its importance in American life and history.[17] Accordingly, those evangelicals often strenuously oppose the expression of other faiths in schools or in the course of civic functions. For example, when Venkatachalapathi Samuldrala became the first Hindu priest to offer an invocation before Congress in 2000, the September 21 edition of the online publication operated by the Family Research Council, Culture Facts, raised objection:

While it is true that the United States was founded on the sacred principle of religious freedom for all, that liberty was never intended to exalt other religions to the level that Christianity holds in our country's heritage. The USA's founders expected that Christianity--and no other religion--would receive support from the government as long as that support did not violate peoples' consciences and their right to worship. They would have found utterly incredible the idea that all religions, including paganism, be treated with equal deference.

However, the Christian Right is not made completely (or even a majority) of Evangelical Christians. According to an article in the November 11, 2004 issue of The Economist, entitled "The Triumph of the Religious Right", "The implication of these findings is that Mr. Bush's moral majority is not, as is often thought, composed of a bunch of right-wing evangelical Christians. Rather, it consists of traditionalist and observant church-goers of every kind: Catholic and mainline Protestant, as well as evangelicals, Mormons, and Sign Followers. Meanwhile, modernist evangelicals tend to be Democratic." Although evangelicals are currently seen as being on the Christian Right in the United States, there are those in the center as well. In other countries there is no particular political stance associated with evangelicals. Many evangelicals have little practical interest in politics.

According to recent reports in the New York Times, some evangelicals have sought to expand their movement's social agenda to include poverty, combating AIDS in the Third World, and protecting the environment.[18]

The following links may help. I prefer to let the experts to the talking.

http://www.wheaton.edu/isae/defining_evangelicalism.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelicalism

Nice links, Smith. Thanks so much.

A problem with polling in general, is with the labeling and grouping of people in order to tease out the social dynamic patterns and trends that one wants to know about. Even "Sex...M or F" doesn't fit all people, and it might be interesting to know how many people don't feel like M and F are enough choices, and why.

And then there is identity, which may not fit in a seemingly clearly defined category. If I'm married to someone in a different category, let's say the check off box limits one to "JJ," "LL," "Mixed" I might well identify strongly as "Mixed," even if it's seemingly obvious to most observers that I'm "JJ."

And there are those interesting labeling questions, such as the one a Black man asked in the Sixties, if memory serves. "How come a White man can have both Black and White children, but I can only have Black children?"

Abortion must be brought to the front in this campaign. Obama takes the most extreme liberal position possible. If all Evangelicals were aware of this, Obama wouldn't stand a chance. All McCain has to do is win the conservative states where there are a lot of Christians, and he will winit with the Evangelical vote on this one issue.

I am an Evangelical Christian and pro-life, but the world is far too complex to be a single-issue voter Mr. Paterson. There are many Biblical values that need to be weighed when deciding how to vote.

Good governance involves so much more than just how a candidate views abortion. National security, global economics, education, the environment, poverty, healthcare, military proliferation, domestic and international crime, etc., etc. The list seems endless. Being and follower of Christ and having access to God's wisdom can be invaluable, but being a competent President of the United States requires much more than being a certain variety of Christian.

Wow! That was wonderful! Thank you Mr. Smith!

Hakuna: Tell Jesus the world is just too complex. He said in Mat. 12, "He who is not with me is against me." That's pretty simple, direct and to the point, maybe too simple for you "evangelicals" shaped by the liberal intelligentsia. If you don't get the abortion issue right, you're not likely to get anything else right either. And if the person running for President, doesn't protect the least of these - you know, the 3000 babies aborted daily in America - how could he/she be trusted to govern righteously. And tell me: what good does it do to claim to be pro-life but vote with the pro-death party? Wake up, O sleeper!

Hakuna, no doubt there are many issues that Christians must care about. However, I hope we could agree that abortion is the most primary issue. If we are not able to properly define personhood and protect the most vulnerable of society then the other issues will pale in comparison.

No doubt we weigh issues but the killing of millions of the people each year certainly should be weighted more than the rest of the issues. You might be interested in this message which thoughtfully advocates a single-issue mindset:

http://www.sbts.edu/MP3/fall2008/20081016moore.mp3

A single issue approach does not work for me; at the same time I know brothers and sisters in Christ will disagree with me.
Many Catholics and some Evangelicals, including me, evaluate candidates according to a consistent pro-life ethic from conception to natural death. (For more info Google "Evangelicals for Social Action" and look for Ron Sider's column in the most recent issue of their magazine, Prism. From this point of view, there are serious problems with both candidates.
Seriously, what has George W. Bush done to end abortion? Appointed two judges who are so extreme they are likely to come out against other parts of a consistent prolife ethic. He has done nothing else to lower the number of abortions. By some accounts, the number of abortions has actually increased during his term. The government no longer releases those figures (wonder why?)
To save the lives of unborn children, there are many things we can and need to be doing to lower the number of women having abortions now. On *this* part of the issue, Obama is ahead of McCain. I've had my fill of Republican posturing about being anti-abortion. Less talk, more work on the ground!

Tim: Let's do this: Let's ask those who are directly and immediately affected most by the pro-abortion policies of the Democrat Party-the aborted babies themselves - you know, the 1.5 million babies aborted every year (that's close to 4000 babies per day)! (Oh, wait, we can't. They're dead. And as we all know, dead babies can't talk.) But if they could, which presidential candidate do you think they would want to represent them? Now realize this, Tim, they are going to be pretty simple in their thinking, not given to nuance like you and other living and breathing people who actually get a chance to live and breath. Those precious little ones probably will just say, "I want to live." And as for you rhetorical question about George Bush: did you ever hear of the partial birth abortion ban? Well, Dubyah did that. And as for your last point, I just gotta say it's the same logic used by some soldiers in Viet Nam to justify their actions: "We had to destroy the village to save the village." Churchill's admonition to his generation fighting against facism applies to us as the slaughter of the innocents continues in our generation: "This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

I'm glad to see that many Evangelicals say that "single-issue" does not work for them in voting for a president. This is true that the complexity involved in selecting a president should be thought through when it comes to a whole contry's merit, which will affect the people in the whole country.
I strongly urge Christians who think 'pro-life' and 'gay-marriage' issues are important should actively get involved in voting for local bills related to these issues. I've been doing so, and think that Christians need to informed and educated to participate in the local votes, state by state on these issues. And it may not be wise to just want a president to do all the work and do not take time and make the effort on these issues other than presidential selection.

When asked who I am voting for, it is a simple decision. I just ask myself, who would God vote for? I know it would not be someone who is for Abortion. I am not judging anyone for their choices, as I am far from perfect, but I do not want to answer to God for voting someone in office who goes against what He teaches.
"But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 10:33

Some worry about the economy. I believe God is perfectly capable of handling the economy, without me getting all worked up over it. He has overcome.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

I suppose I feel like God is more concerned with Abortion than the Economy.

For those who claim Christianity, pray and listen to God, it should be an easy choice.
Hopefully, you will be able to live with yours.

I have an honest question for Lisa. Why is it that God can handle the economy but not abortion? I am not at all trying to be snarky.