First we were too bigoted to vote for Mr. Romney, obviously the best choice for the GOP, and now we are so tied to the GOP that we are betraying our faith to vote for Mr. Romney.
Evangelicals cannot win with some pundits.
As my co-bloggers have noted (repeatedly), Evangelicals are a big group and it is weird that so few media people understand us.
In part, this misunderstanding is made worse by the Internet. There are two loud groups that are overrepresented on the Net, but have few followers. The first are the Hyper-Evangelicals, the sort that agree with the rest of us, but we wish would not. To these folk, the Illuminati looms as a threat and Mr. Obama may, in fact, be Antichrist. These folk are loud, but not so numerous.
They are like the Loud Uncle at the family reunion. The louder he gets, the emptier the room which makes it seem as if the entire room is in agreement. In the end, this is true, because the Cowed Aunt is the only one left with Loud Uncle. Most of the family, however, politely has moved on.
The second is the Evangelical left, proclaiming every year that this is the year that Evangelicals, especially young Evangelicals, break with the GOP. It hasn’t happened, isn’t happening, but yet this group still gets attention.
Why? Like liberal Mormons, there is the Dancing Frog effect. Most frogs cannot sing and dance with a top hat, so when one does it has the potential to draw a crowd. But one cannot generalize from the one dancing frog to frogs in general . . . and yet the media takes a Jim Wallis seriously, despite being a man whose influence on the election is similar to an Indianapolis drive time talk radio host on a Salem station.
The radio guy though is just one frog of many to the media and so the Dancing Frog gets all the attention, especially since he or she often can hop an Evangelical Jim Crow for his secularized betters.
What seems to have escaped many in the commentariat is that Mr. Romney has never asked me, not once, to change my view of this religious beliefs. I still don’t agree with them, still engage in dialog about my disagreement, but feel perfectly free to vote for Mr. Romney. Why not? My vote for Mr. Ryan will not undercut my disagreements with the Roman church either . . . nor did my vote for Mr. McCain indicate support for mere religiosity.
In short, my faith informs my vote, but it is the genius of the Founders to limit government enough so that the Faithful don’t have to pick only the Faithful.
There is a long American tradition of Evangelicals voting this way. We accepted Lincoln who only grew very religious during the War. We voted for Taft as a Unitarian, but didn’t abandon the importance of the Trinity.
In short, we care about politics politically . . . and religion religiously. We are happy when they don’t cross . . . when they do, we pick the candidate that best affirms our values.
In this case, for most Evangelicals and all Christians who attend church weekly, that overwhelmingly will be Mr. Romney. After voting for him, my theology will be intact, Mr. Romney will be President and so our national will be intact too. That is a lesser good than theology, but still a good thing!