Evangelical Influence in the 2012 Election
When his rhetoric is also considered, there are multiple instances where there is a huge gap between the president's rhetoric and the reality of his actions, political appointments, and policies. In addition, the contrast between the president's behavior and language while campaigning is significantly different from between elections when he forgets all about the Christian allusions and rhetoric.
Concerned Women for America (CWA) is one Evangelical group which is working day and night to get out the vote, especially those of Christian women. Launched several months prior to Election Day, the She Votes 2012 effort has registered thousands of people across the United States, some of whom have never voted before or have not voted in years.
CWA's Chief Executive Officer and President, Penny Nance, said, "We know that when conservatives vote their values, they elect men and women whom CWA and CWA members can work with to see that founding principles are applied and enacted into law. We need conservatives to turn out in great numbers in order to get legislation passed that will move our great country back to a secure footing."
Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition launched its "largest voter registration, voter mobilization and get-out-the-vote effort ever targeted at evangelical voters." This voter drive is not aimed just at the presidential race hot spots but also critical House and Senate races. The effort will help elect down-ballot candidates, too, by reaching out to 17 million Evangelical voters.
One of the most well-known Evangelicals, the Reverend Billy Graham, has a new campaign out called "Vote Biblical Values." This message appears on the campaign's website: "The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren, and this great nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last. I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God." This message is designed as a church bulletin insert, which may have had a powerful effect of getting out the Evangelical vote.
Rev. Graham's 94th birthday is November 7. What a wonderful birthday gift it will be if his wish, so eloquently expressed on the bulletin insert, is granted.
Evangelicals hold strong religious and moral beliefs, but those are at risk if this voting bloc opts to let other people vote for the leaders who run the country. Those other people may support unrestricted access to abortion, including for children, higher taxes, and policies that force religious institutions to give up their religious liberty and fund things like abortion and contraception. The appointment of judges - local, state, and federal - is a very important power wielded by politicians. If Evangelicals don't vote, an activist judiciary may well be on the horizon, and that means that the role of the judiciary will be expanded from interpreting the law to writing it, thus usurping legislative power.
In 2008, three percent more Evangelicals voted than in 2004. If their numbers rise again in 2012 as they did in 2008, they could well sway the election. Groups like Concerned Women for America, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association worked very hard during this election to make that a reality.
The Wall Street Journal sums up how the Evangelical vote is projected to go in big for Romney:
White evangelicals and those who identified themselves as "born again" Christians accounted for 26% of the U.S. electorate in 2008 and 23% in 2004, according to exit polls.
Mr. Romney's support tops 80% nationwide among white evangelicals who are likely to vote, according to combined data from the last two Wall Street Journal/NBC News polls, in late September and early October. That is in line with Mr. Bush's 78% support in 2004 and a higher share than the 74% who according to exit polls backed the 2008 GOP nominee, Sen. John McCain.
"There had been questions early in the race about whether a Mormon candidate for president could mobilize the white evangelical vote," said GOP pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey along with Democratic pollster Peter Hart. "Those questions have definitely been answered."
The only poll that counts is election results; the 2012 outcome will tell the tale of how much influence Evangelicals will have regarding the nation's future and the kind of world our children and grandchildren will inhabit.
Brenda Zurita is Research Fellow for Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute.
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