"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
Their victories come as public opinion has shifted dramatically on some social issues, notably same-sex marriage, denounced by most religious conservatives. The rise of the tea party and libertarian factions in the Republican Party has also diluted the influence of social conservative activists in the GOP.
But in the case of these faith-figures-turned-pols, the candidates’ close relationships to their churches played a factor — perhaps the deciding one — in their victories.
“People generally like their pastor, and in politics it’s always good to be liked by voters,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon.
This cycle’s successful religious leaders include Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., who recently won a primary in the special election to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Coburn.
They cite organizational skill as the primary reason fort this trend:
From a political perspective, operatives cite organizational abilities as a religious leader’s No. 1 strength in campaigns. In low-turnout summer contests, that often leads to success.
“Churches do a good job of mobilizing and getting their people out because they’re organized, there’s phone trees, there’s a registry, and they certainly use that to get the word out,” said GOP ad maker Casey Phillips.
Makes good deal of sense to me. We have discussed a lot on this blog that the diverse and fragmentary nature of Evangelicalism has blunted its political effectiveness. But there is an issue that flows from this. The church is not an inherently political organization. A megachurch may be well organized for political action, but is it well organized for doing what the church is supposed to do?
I do not want to attempt to answer that in this post, but I do think it is worthy of discussion. Too many churches automatically think bigger is better without thinking about why and how they get bigger. What do you think?