The “Evangelical Vote”

I recently read in the NY Times about how many within the G.O.P. are openly questioning the strategies of long time political strategist Karl Rove.  One of the items mentioned in passing in the article was the question of the G.O.P.’s dependence on the evangelical vote.

NPR recently aired an interview with senator Barack Obama, who is considered the new face of the Democratic party and Christianity Today also reported last year on DNC chairman Howard Dean — both reported their efforts to “reach out” to evangelicals.

Frankly, I’m disgusted.

I’m disgusted with us as evangelicals that we allow ourselves to be pandered to.  There is a growing trend otherwise, but for the most part hearing the word “evangelical”
provokes the same thoughts and feelings in many people as does the word
“Republican” or “conservatives.”  We have allowed ourselves to become a “market segment” that has predictable patterns of consumption and common “felt needs” and “hot button” issues.  We have allowed ourselves to be shaped by political and market forces to shape our identity around things that really have little to do with being the people of Jesus.  

I’m disgusted with both political parties.  But who isn’t?  But they’re geniuses — or at least the G.O.P.  The Democrats are still figuring out how to outdo their counterparts (e.g., their slogan, “America Can Do Better”).

While any variety of brands or politics work and spend to win our attention, the truth is, the moment they have us, they no longer have to beg us to buy or vote.  Once they have us, they own us and tell us what we want, how we want it, and whom we want it from.  If the Democrats somehow got their act together and “stole” the evangelical vote from the Republicans (which will never happen), they would do they exact same thing.

I long for myself, my family, my church, heck, for all Christians in America the world, that when people look at or think of us, they think “Jesus” or “love” or “fools” (okay, we already have that last one going for us).  But such an image change cannot be attained through hi-tech means and modern marketing.  (Actually, it can, but what would be the point of that?  Do not tax collectors do the same?)  The only way for us to break out of the marketing and political pidgeon holes that have been set up for us is to actually follow and imitate Jesus in the way he lived and taught, to actually love God, one another, neighbors, and even our enemies, and to actually live in a way that joyfully, faithfully, and foolishly goes against the logic of this world.

Brothers and sisters, let’s become so firm in the kingdom and its king that we never conform to the patterns of this world.  Yet let’s become so slippery that no power in the world can ever grab a hold of us and claim us as its own. 

So, friends, every day do something

that won’t compute. Love the Lord.

Love the world. Work for nothing.

Take all that you have and be poor.

Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace

the flag. Hope to live in that free

republic for which it stands.

From “Manifesto:  The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” by Wendell Berry

7 thoughts on “The “Evangelical Vote””

  1. preach it blung. To comment on daeha’s post…it will look different for every person intentionally seeking to learn to live life from Jesus…because we all find ourselves in unique and specific contexts…but to get a concreted preview of what that kind of life will look like is Matthew 5:21-chapter 7…life in the kingdom of God. If you’re interested in a good explanation of the ‘discourse on a hill’…try Dallas Willard’s ‘The Divine Conspiracy’. Shameless plug for the sake of the Kingdom. 🙂

  2. good stuff brian… you’ll be sad to hear that the usual channel being broadcasted from the tv’s in our student center and fitness center is foxnews. it’s also not unusual to hear passing comments around here that disparage democrats.

  3. oops, not that being a republican (or a democrat for that matter) is intrinsically bad (like you’re saying), but that the examples cited seem to belie a preferred political perspective… 🙂

  4. Great stuff, Brian.  There are definately ways to express Christian unity apart from the model where one leader tells a group of passive followers what to believe in.  Unfortuantely it seems like some may prefer that model for reason or another.

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