McCain Having Problem With Evangelical Voters

In 2000 John McCain opposed George Bush and criticized the religious right as “agents of intolerance.” The New York Times notes that evangelicals are still wary of McCain, and might not turn out to vote for him. Robert Novak gives similar warnings in his column.  It is often forgotten that not long ago evangelical voters were voting Democratic–for Jimmy Carter. This year the more openly religious candidate is once again a Democrat.

The two party system has served to form two broad coalitions composed of people who share some views and disagree on others. There is no inherent reason why religious voters should also agree with conservatives on economics or support the war in Iraq. There are actually strong reasons for them not to, and many are now questioning Republican viewpoints.

For years the Republicans have managed to keep their diverse coalition together. The height of this came when George Bush gave the religious right far more than any of his predecessors, who would typically appeal to them during elections but give them very little. With the overall collapse of the Republicans there is more of a chance that religious voters will reassess their allegiance to the Republicans. Obama might appeal to many as the more openly religious candidate. From there they might be more open to listening to Democratic viewpoints than they have in the past on other issues.

Hopefully Obama can also transform the way they look at politics and government. Historically religious leaders have often been strong supporters of separation of church and state, as Obama has noted himself. Hopefully Obama can also convince religious voters of the importance of separation of church and state, including to guarantee them the ability to worship as they choose, as opposed to using government to impose their religious views.

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    Wayne says:

    I wonder if Obama will back his support of separation of church and state to the extent that he will instruct the IRS to investigate and revoke the tax-exempt status of religous organizations that that directly get involved in pushing particular politicians and or political parties during services (such as Trinity UCC and St. Sabina’s in Chicago)

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Wayne,

    This will probably happen at around the same time there are sanctions on all the conservative churches around where I live (and most likely elsewhere in the country) which were telling people that Kerry is a sinner and they should vote for Bush.

    Churches crossing the line with regards to religion happens quite frequently and most of the time the IRS and everyone else looks the other way.

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