Evangelicals and Realignment

F.O.B. Ted (Friend of Blather) directs my attention to this George Barna report about how born-again folks have begun to wander off the Republican farm
titled “Born Again Voters No Longer Favor Republican Candidates.”

In the opening paragraph we find:

One of the most reliable constituencies of the Republican Party in recent years has been born again Christians. A new national survey of likely voters conducted by The Barna Group, however, shows that the Republicans have lost the allegiance of many born again voters. The November election is truly up for grabs – and if the election were held today, most born again voters would select the Democratic Party nominee for president, whoever that might be.

To understand what is going on, you first have to understand why, for several decades, evangelicals (and a lot of catholics for that matter) came to feel more at home in the GOP in the first place. Two seismic events drove it.

First, in 1968, Democrats began a transformation from being the party of anti-communist Truman, JFK and LBJ; into the anti-war, anti-anti-communism, “hippie” party. Many Christians who had been lifelong and multi-generational Democrats started feeling out of place”enough of them to get Nixon elected in ’68 and ’72. Evangelical Democrats didn’t leave the party. They felt the party had left them.

Second, in 1973, the Supreme Court told the voters in 50 states that it was tearing the abortion question out of their hands. The electoral implications of this didn’t manifest in the 1976 presidential election because Jimmy Carter’s identification with Southern Baptists and Gerald Ford’s lack of clear social conservatism kept them and other evangelicals in the camp for one last election.

Then came Ronald Reagan, simultaneously pro-life and anti-communist. In ’80 many evangelicals cast a vote for a Republican presidential candidate for the first time in their lives. And continued to do so right through George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004.

Here in 2008, the threat of the Soviet Union is a distant memory for older folks and a boring, forgotton chapter in History class for younger ones. As I pointed out in a post a while back:

The oldest of those under-30 GOP voters [who voted for Huckabee] was 10 years old when Ronald Reagan left office. Most weren’t even born at the end of the Carter nightmare.

They’ve seen neither what a great, broad-spectrum conservative leader looks like nor what happens when a bunch of Baptists get excited about sending one of their own to the White House.

As I pointed out in an email exchange with Stanley Kurtz about this post earlier today, the vast majority of voting-age born-agains, like the general populace (me included), are products of the public education system and are therefore largely historical, economic and scientific illiterates (or sub-literates at best)

That sub-literacy is a helpful condition for swallowing global warming hysterias, big government solutions to poverty, 9/11 was an inside job lunacies, open borders madness and a host of other Left of center pathologies.

Not one Christian in 1000 under the age of 45 has a clue as to how devastating Johnson’s “War on Poverty” and other well-intentioned government welfare programs were on lower-income families. It’s politically incorrect to point it out, but we have a prison system today filled to over-flowing with the sons of unwed mothers who were incentivized to bring fatherless children into the world by government-sponsored “compassion.”

So when Obama or Huckabee quote scripture and tell them that it is their Christian duty to favor anti-poverty programs and wealth redistribution schemes, they just nod and say, “Amen.”