Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Value voters reign again?

So, in the aftermath of all this Ted Haggard stuff, rumor has it that some sort of election was held. The results were pretty darn interesting, and some suggest they sounded the death knell of the so-called "values voters" bloc that helped push Bush into office in 2004.

Whoa on that knell for just a minute. The values vote -- whatever that means -- ain't dead yet.

Back in 2004, the values vote was generally defined as folks who were concerned with abortion and same-sex marriage. Those issues are still important to a wide swath of voters, and the Democratic party appeared to acknowledge that by trotting out several pro-life candidates -- most of whom won. Newly elected Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., is the most high-profile anti-abortion Democrat, but six pro-life Dems found their way into the House, as well.

But many faithful believe that poverty and the war in Iraq are as much about "values" as abortion is, and pollsters hired by Faith in Public Life and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good seem to bear that out. According to their results, which will be released today, Iraq was the No. 1 "moral issue" that affected respondents votes, topping the list at 45.8 percent of voters. That's six times the folks who put abortion on the top of the list, and nearly five times those who put same-sex marriage at the top. And it was the top moral issue among Catholics, "born-again" Christians and frequent church attendees.

While some believe those numbers indicate that Democrats are learning to talk to people of faith a little bit better -- and that evangelicals are perhaps not the Republican lock they once were -- folks at Focus on the Family believe that the Republicans simply screwed up. They took conservative Christians for granted, they say, and the GOP paid the price.

"Republican leaders in Congress during this term apparently never understood, or they forgot, why Ronald Reagan was so loved and why he is considered one of our greatest presidents," James Dobson said in response to the election. "If they hope to return to power in '08, they must rediscover the conservative principles that resonated with the majority of Americans in the 1980s -- and still resonate with them today."

Undoubtedly, this election was not a strong showing by Christian conservatives -- a voting base that some critics believed had taken control of the Republican party. But does that mean the end of faith as a political force? Not by a longshot.


Blogger ZC said...

Dr. Dobson talks like a man trying energize his base. A voice whining in the wilderness. . . what an awful fate for a man who thought he could make kings.


5:25 PM  

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