Friday, November 09, 2007

Don't take them for granted

I heard an interesting interview between Michele Norris and Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission at the Southern Baptist Convention on NPR's ATC program yesterday afternoon. Michelle asked a question which brought an insightful response from Dr. Land and one that I think is all too often overlooked in discussions in the blogosphere.

Norris: Now you've heard that the Evangelical Christians are often painted as a monolithic bloc. How do Democratic or independent evangelicals fit in this picture?

Land: Well, the majority of evangelicals do not identify themselves as either republicans or democrats. And let me now speak for the constituency I know best which is the Southern Baptist constituency which is 16.4 million folks in 43,700 churches. Most of them did not grow up in Republican homes. Most of them have been voting solidly Republican starting with the 1980 presidential election but they've not been doing so because they see themselves as voting Republican.

They see themselves as voting pro-life and if the Republicans are foolish enough to take the life issue off the table, that bright line distinction, then they have given the Democrats a license to go hunting for evangelical and conservative social Catholic voters. Because they're not nearly as convinced that the Republican party is right when it comes to economic justice issues. They're not nearly as convinced that the Republican party is right when it comes to some environmental issues. And they're not nearly as convinced that the Republicans are right when it comes to some of the racial reconciliation issues

I was surprised to hear someone of Dr. Land's standing and position make this point so clearly on a national broadcast outlet; and the take-away is this, that evangelical Christians have many reasons to seriously consider Democratic candidates. Of course, it's true.

Perhaps those on the left blogosphere who regularly excoriate the Christian right might want to re-think their approach. No monolithic voting bloc is ever really monolithic. There's simply an unwillingness or inability to consider all the separate, different voices in the attempt to denounce a particular viewpoint.


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