Evangelicals are back in the media spotlight again, but the spotlight has gone from red to purple. Back in the 1970s, largely energized by Roe v. Wade, Evangelicals asserted themselves into the political process as never before. Though it is debated how much real influence they had even then and on into the 80s, on one thing all agreed: the Evangelical vote could be counted on by the Republican party. So after 30-some years, why would the Evangelical voter be back in the news? The “man bites dog” story for 2008 is that for an increasing number of (particularly, but not exclusively) young Christians, Evangelical Democrat is no longer an oxymoron.
This is where it gets personal: ten years ago I would not have been able to get my mouth to form the word “Democrat,” and now I are one.
Well, maybe I’m not a Democrat, insofar as I’m not thrilled about accepting any political party into my heart. As a matter of fact, I sat out the previous election, my discouraged heart filled with pox for both houses. All that changed when Barack Obama burst out of East Nowhere, Illinois, and onto the national stage. I’ll admit it; I was smitten from the get-go. (Please don’t send me your YouTube links to the Obama as Paris Hilton ads, I get the wierdness, thanks.) But after my honeymoon was over, I found myself still just as enthusiastic.
I can easily tell you the basic reasons why, and let me save you the effort of typing out the obvious critiques: my reasons don’t go very high up the policy-wonkometer. In the first draft of this post, I actually spelled them out. But then I deleted them, because I don’t want whatever discussion this post begins to be Topic: Obama, messiah or antichrist.
Here’s what I would like to discuss with my fellow Conn-versation bloggers and all you gentle readers. Not why or why not Obama or McCain is the best candidate, but the far more interesting (to me, anyway) question of can one be a true Evangelical in all the usual earmarks (Deity of Christ, salvation by faith in him alone, Bible is the Word of God, etc.) and vote for Obama? And to get the 50,000 pound elephant out into the open, what about the Big A, abortion? For those of you who oppose Obama, is that the biggest reason why? For those who, like me, plan to vote for Obama, how do you “handle” the abortion question when it comes up? Is that the make-or-break issue for Evangelical Christians? Should it be?