Why 25% Evangelicals Voted for Democrats
Two years ago, President Bush won his reelection with a slim, but sure majority of the nationwide vote. In addition, strongly worded state referendums passed in many states reflecting conservative anti-gay views of same sex unions. The word was out and it seemed clear – 2004 was a referendum on morals and values – and Bush, the Republicans and their fellow Conservatives proclaimed their mandate to clean society, infuse more religious values and make the United States a God fearing country, again.
If indeed that were true, and God was on their side, what does November 2006 say about how opportunities were squandered, moral high ground was yielded and self righteousness replaced virtue and honesty? God is mad at my Republican friends and their evangelical choirboys.
Billy Graham once said, "If God doesn't judge America soon, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah." In 2004, people like Graham believed God was judging. On November 7th, however, not only was America's voice heard, but God's voice was heard all too well. How could the party and its followers who claim to have a direct line to God's will have misread or misrepresented that will so vastly?
I have no more link to God's ear than does Billy Graham, or George W. Bush for that matter, but if I had to guess, Evangelicals and Republicans who claim Jesus as their philosopher, instead of preaching the gospel to the unreached billions throughout the world have delayed the second coming by not focusing and obeying God's commands. Matthew 24:14 states "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations." In II Peter 3:12, we read, "Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God." But we have delayed this with policies which have taken missionaries away from the unreached, and have created far worse conditions than only two years prior.
The Bush Administration's foreign policies have created more widows and orphans through its prolonged and even unnecessary war in Iraq. Instead of rescuing widows and orphans, as James 1:27 says "The religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world," the war policy, the neglect of domestic and worldwide poverty, and the passive approach to genocidal tyrants in places like Darfur, have created countless millions who are deprived of basic needs, liberty, life and even the American ideal of the pursuit of Happiness.
"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you," from Matthew 5:44 offers a guide to living. Yet, those who claim Jesus as their master have helped create more enemies through policies that run counter to scripture.
When self-righteousness replaced rectitude, God then decided to take action. President Bush's said in his second inaugural address, "I have earned the capital and I will spend it," but he failed to remember the lesson of Matthew 5:5, "Blessed are the meek in spirit, for they shall inherit the earth." The antithesis should be, Cursed are the prideful – they shall lose their friends. Americans were incredulous over President Bush's self-proclaimed mandate. God was too.
Then there were the personal scandals and the hypocritical messages from national leaders that further damaged any claim to moral superiority. The lobbying scandal showed us that money, not God, was the calling of the day. The same people, who only two years earlier tried to claim a moral high ground through relentless verbal and legislative persecution of those with whom they disagreed, were caught taking money for policy, covering up for decadence, lying and creating sins of their own. That certainly was not a divine calling.
On October 10, 2006, I confronted Speaker Hastert about his role in covering up the Congressman Foley scandal. I told him that God wanted him to resign or he will be judged very publicly. November 7th was Judgment day. We saw the role Ted Haggard played when he so publicly preached and vigorously pushed an anti-gay agenda under the guise of religious fervor, and how he was forced to resign as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and was dismissed as Senior Pastor of his New Life Church when his personal gay lifestyle became public.
Does God want us to persecute those who some may believe are not living "intended" lifestyles? Does God want us to wage wars that have no purpose? Does God want us to act corrupt even if we believe that the actions are ultimately for a greater good? Doubtful! What is known is what is universal to most Bible-based religions, and precisely what was missing from the Bush agenda; the basic tenet of scripture. The Jewish sage Hillel taught us when he was challenged to recite the Bible while standing on one foot that the essence of God's word was to "Love thy neighbor as you wish to be loved yourself, all the rest is commentary."
Perhaps the Republicans did not get that memo.