Stateside

A clear-eyed look at the evangelical vote

A few points for those who insist on interpreting Bush’s reelection as the triumph of some sort of neo-fascist Christian right in America:

–White evangelical/born-again Christians were less than one-fourth of all voters.

–Of these white evangelical/born-again Christians, about one in five voted for John Kerry– a small minority, but indication that the movement is hardly a political monolith.

–Among even southern evangelical Christians, racial bias is largely discredited. In his book Blood of the Liberals, George Packer writes about the growth of interracial evangelical congregations in Birmingham, Alabama– once the heartland of segregation.

–Writing in The Nation, Andrew Levison notes that few college-educated liberals have attended “the Wednesday evening prayer meetings that are held all across America, where working people seriously and sincerely struggle with their feelings on issues like prejudice, tolerance and greed.”

No, I don’t want to romanticize the evangelicals, or to suggest that liberals ditch their commitment to abortion rights and gay rights in an effort to win their support. But a clear-eyed search for some common ground might be more useful than demonization and hysteria.

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