Tuesday, June 10, 2008
BACK ON LINE!
Your missionary to Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:
We may not be the most hated organization in Washington, but we certainly have our enemies. Once in a while they'll strike at us but it's mostly benign. We've had false charges of "illegal operations" lodged against us. The Baby Jesus in our annual Nativity Scene was kidnapped. Dead birds have been laid on our doorstep.
One of the most annoying harassments came over the last few weeks when an anonymous complainant filed an accusation with Blogger.com that I was sending out a "spam blog." That resulted in an immediate "lock out" from this blog, thus explaining my absence over the last week. Sorry about that. Looks like my name has been cleared, though, and we're back in business!
Being away from this blog for that long left me with a greater appreciation for my "blog family." I wasn't sure if I'd keep this up because writing is a much more laborious style of communication for me. Now, though, I realize you, Reader, have become a familiar friend--a welcome visitor. To get downright sappy, I missed your company!
OK, enough of all that and on to the "raw meat." Yesterday (Monday, June 9) I attended a very interesting briefing at the National Press Club on trends among religious voters. It was put on by the Henry Institute at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The briefing was based on partial results from an exhaustive survey of 3002 Americans. The event yesterday was concerned with what the survey showed about political attitudes and preferences towards the end of the 2008 presidential primary process. Although some of the report was predictable, other parts were real eye-poppers. (Watch for my full analysis of what we heard in an upcoming article at our website: www.faithandaction.org.)
Bottom line on this: Religious voters, especially "traditionalists" (i.e., evangelical "conservatives" and traditional Roman Catholics) remain one of the most powerful and influential voting blocks in the country. And, while there are significant differences arising within these groups, they (or shall I say, "we") also remain committed to the paramount moral imperatives of the sanctity of life, marriage and the family and the public acknowledgement of God. (On the last point, an overwhelming majority of all biblically religious voters support the public display of the Ten Commandments!)
The most pronounced differences in voting trends over the last few years appear among so-called "modernist" Evangelicals and Catholics. It wasn't clear from the presentation yesterday what exactly classifies one as a "modernist," but I think it's somewhat self-explanatory. Anyway, the modernists are beginning to break more toward Democrat and other parties as opposed to voting Republican, but their numbers at this point are miniscule. This shift will not change the outcome much--at least not in near future elections.
Still, there was a big lesson in this report: Neither party has a lock on the religious electorate going into the future. That, in my estimation, is a good thing. Christians owe our allegiance to only one Sovereign and His name is Jesus. "We have no king but Jesus," declared the American revolutionaries. I'd like to add, "We have no party but God's Party."
It's only those parties and platforms most reflective of God's Party and Platform that should enjoy the support of God's people--and only passing support at that. Christians are owned by only one master; we have been "bought with a price." (1 Corinthians 7:23) Our allegiance lies elsewhere. It's important we demonstrate that fact from time to time. Come to think of it, now is a good time.
Please check out the full Henry Institute survey report. Makes for very interesting reading.
Back with more . . .
Rev. Rob Schenck
Faith and Action
109 2nd St., NE
Washington, DC 20002