“This election wasn’t about issues,” the pundits say, “It was about values…”
Commentary By Jack Kelley
“This election wasn’t about issues,” the pundits say, “It was about values.” One of John Edwards’ favorite themes during the campaign was that there are two Americas, the one of the privileged and the one of the average. Turns out he was right in his diagnosis but wrong in his treatment. He thought he could appeal to the average America, but the problem is that unlike John Edwards, average Americans are conservative in their politics.
Many of them are what politicians call “people of faith,” or more often lately, “Evangelicals.” They believe marriage is a union of one man and one woman. They believe that life begins at conception and abortion is murder. They believe that government should stay out of people’s lives as much as possible and politicians should lead by example. They believe that if we don’t fight the terrorists “over there” we’ll wind up fighting them here. They believe the UN is not our friend, and a surprising number believe that the US must stand with Israel against Moslem efforts at annihilation.
In short they hold values that John Kerry and John Edwards and many other democrats don’t espouse. It was this America that gave George Bush the first electoral majority since his father was elected in 1988.
According to exit polls, of those who say they attend church every week 3 out of 4 voted for Bush. Of those who placed moral values at the top of their list of priorities (up from 16% of voters last time to 22% this time) over 8 out of 10 voted for Bush. Evangelicals comprised as many as 1 out of 3 voters in this election and were the primary target group for Republicans campaign officials this year. 4 million Evangelicals failed to vote in 2000, causing Bush to come up 1/2 million votes short in the popular count. It nearly cost him the election and they weren’t going to let that happen again. “We have to appeal to our base,” they said. This time around the President was re-elected by nearly 3.5 million votes. That’s a 4 million vote swing compared to 2000. Coincidence?
The Power Of Faith
Politicians used to pretty much ignore Christians, calling us single-issue voters. The issue was always abortion. No matter how good somebody looked otherwise, if he was pro-choice he lost the Christian vote. But if he was pro-life he risked losing the larger women’s vote. Candidates worked hard to hide their true feelings. Not even the great Ronald Reagan dared to state his position clearly till it was too late for anyone to vote him out (he opposed abortion). This dilemma kept the Christian vote fractured and ineffective.
But now there are so many issues in our society that carry moral significance, and that are perceived to be attacks on our lifestyle, that Evangelicals are finally united and have become a power to be reckoned with. That’s one reason why there was so much controversy over what could or couldn’t be said from the pulpit of a church during this election. Non-believers are clearly becoming threatened by the power Evangelicals now hold. We constitute 1/3 of the electorate and are much more likely to vote than others. To try and sideline us, liberal groups began posting watchers in congregations on Sunday mornings in some states during the campaign to report any violations of 501(c)3 provisions (tax exempt organizations can talk politics but can’t endorse candidates.) As of today there are 60 church-related suits pending before the IRS alleging violations of tax-exempt status in promoting conservative causes. Oddly, there are none alleging violations favoring liberal causes, even though one Sunday Bill Clinton lectured Republicans on the 10 Commandments from the pulpit at Riverside Church in New York City while obviously mustering up support for John Kerry.
So There Are Two Americas
Yes there are, and I don’t mean North and South. In the US we’re a divided nation with very little possibility of accommodation. It’s difficult to abandon or ignore deeply held convictions. Therefore, unless something happens to fracture us again, I believe that Evangelicals will become an increasingly powerful voting block as viewpoints become more polarized over conflicting values. I also believe that the voting power of Evangelicals will, more than any other factor, keep America strong and keep Israel safe.
Still Another America?
Yet my view of the End Times calls for an America with little or no influence in the world, having been eclipsed by the European super state, and an Israel weakened and vulnerable to attack. And contrary to the Reconstructionist view, there’s no prophecy anywhere in Scripture that predicts a dominant church in the Last Days. In fact, the only End Times prophecies relating to the church (other than the Rapture) speak of a great falling away (apostosia in the Greek) just before the arrival of the antichrist on the world scene, (2 Thes. 2:3) leaving a lukewarm “church” in the last days. (Rev. 3:14-22)
The logical conclusion (it came crashing into my mind as I watched Kerry’s concession followed by Bush’s victory speech) is that the Rapture of the Church has to precede the demise of America. Only the elimination of Evangelicals from the electorate will permit the rest of the country to sink into the cesspool of amoral liberal politics. (Another sign that the Rapture is near?)
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Based on what I heard during the campaign, sounds like Paul could have been warning Timothy about the liberal left. Selah 11-07-04