The mainstream media are working hard to characterize evangelical involvement in 2008 politics as disarray and disfunction because the community is not behind a single candidate.  Sorry, there isn’t any disarray.  Evangelicals aren’t cracked-up, as the New York Times suggested recently.  The misleading characterizaiton is partially because, in public and political discourse, evangelical is now considered a political voting bloc rather than a theological distinction.  Evangelical Christians share spiritual beliefs, almost all are social conservatives, and most are defense and economic conservatives.  But their priorities differ, and the younger generation is concerned about issues that haven’t been particularly important to their parents. 

So it isn’t suprising that some evangelicals like a candidate such as Mike Huckabee because he is evangelical and because he’s a social conservative.  It isn’t surprising that some support Mitt Romney, an economic conservative, or John McCain, a defense conservative.  That’s not disarray, its diversity.  And it is further evidence that evangelicals are not monolithic and easily pegged.

We won’t be seeing the split support by evangelicals in the general election.  Although Obama and Clinton have been trying to speak evangelicalese from time to time,  evangelicals aren’t fooled, and very few of them share the liberal political philosophy of the Democratic frontrunners.

Filed under: JimPolitics

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