Monday, June 21, 2004
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Karl Rove's nightmare come true
A huge component of the Bush re-election strategy is the overwhelming support the president receives from white evangelicals -- both its leadership and rank and file. If, for some reason, this group were to grow either disaffected or less politically active, states that were previously thought of as Republican locks would suddenly be in play.
Which is why Karl Rove can't be too happy about Larry B. Stammer's article in the Los Angeles Times about a new white paper on political action that's coming from the National Association of Evangelicals:
Read the whole piece -- there's a quote at the end from a former NAE president saying, "I think short term it probably won't have a lot of impact. In the long term it will have a fairly significant impact." This is probably true -- but I can't help think the symbolism and the timing of the document will have some short-term impact -- not so much from converting Republican voters into Democrats, but rather reducing voter turnout.posted by Dan on 06.21.04 at 10:25 AM
This is coming out of Fuller. It is important to know that within the "evangelical" seminaries, there are those seminaries which lean left and right. There are red-state seminaries and blue-state seminaries. There are red-state and blue-state evangelical churchs. Something that comes out of a west coast seminary will mean very little to joe and jane church-goer in fly-over country. I'm a seminary prof's kid who who later entered the ministry. I can speak to the reality that some things that matter most in the seminary halls usually mean little or nothing to those of us who sit in the pews on Sunday. When it comes to ideologies and "the maturing of the evangelical mind", seminaries are greenhouses. Churches are gardens. "Groundbreaking frameworks for political action" are rare tropical orchids which only bloom in precisely controlled environments. Those who attend evangelical churches in fly-over country might be mildly interested in the rare tropical orchid, but their gardens are filled with daisies and petunias. They know what will take root and what won't. Carl Rove can relax a little.posted by: tom on 06.21.04 at 10:25 AM [permalink]
In my dictionary, the term "evangelical" can be synonymous with protestant, but it can also be "marked by fundamentalism." So the term has a lot of elasticity.
I went to the NAE's website and found members which included baptist, episcopalian, methodist and presbyterian denominations, but not necessarily the one's with which I am familiar. No Southern Baptists. No United Methodists (Bush's church). These are two large denominations that are on the right and left of the political spectrum, which suggests that NAE might not be very representative.posted by: PD Shaw on 06.21.04 at 10:25 AM [permalink]
After reading the first paragraph, I thought the post was going to be about Roy Moore. That's Karl's worst nightmare.posted by: uh_clem on 06.21.04 at 10:25 AM [permalink]
being familiar with Fuller, I live in Pasadena, and with a number of Southern Baptists, I used to live in the South, I am pretty confident that the impact in the short term will indeed be minimal. Fuller seminary is has a wide range of political leanings, while the southern evangelicals do not. As noted above, Fuller is on the "left" side of the evangelical spectrum and will have *very* little influence on the right, which comprises the majority of the republican support within evangelical circles.posted by: chris brandow on 06.21.04 at 10:25 AM [permalink]
> the framework says Christians in their devotion
That boat sailed a long time ago.posted by: goethean on 06.21.04 at 10:25 AM [permalink]
Fascinating read, although I doubt any white paper will be able to offset the message being spread by Bush and his religious allies.posted by: Zach on 06.21.04 at 10:25 AM [permalink]
The religious right will get their red meat at the convention. The hard core social conservatives will be reminded about all the things getting them steamed, gay marriage, judicial appointments stymied, Clintons book. I doubt Rove is losing much sleep. What he should be worried about is losing the moderates over the war. Bush really needs to give a major policy speech at some point outlining his vision for the middle east (and the world). If the realists are truly in his ear and he take the Kerry 'stability line', I think he's in trouble. Kerry may get the nod if the goal is stability because he doesnt have Bush's baggage in Europe and the UN. Bush needs a Reaganesque vision of a democratic and free Iraq, as well as insisting on reform in other nations. Moderates understand the march of freedom and its a good distinction to draw with Kerry.posted by: Mark Buehner on 06.21.04 at 10:25 AM [permalink]
I wouldnt lose much sleep if I were Rove either. I think that political polarization has a lot to do with bias in information sources, and as long as the evangelicals are generally reading and watching right-wing sources, they'll get the smorgasboard of right-wing opinions drilled into their heads.
Wuposted by: Carleton Wu on 06.21.04 at 10:25 AM [permalink]
We saw in the Alabama tax referendum that appealing to evangelical conservatives sense of "social justice" is a loser, even when done by a fellow evangelic (such as the Alabama governor).posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 06.21.04 at 10:25 AM [permalink]
Yip yip yahoo. These people are as close to being "evangelical" as Barry Lynn is to being a real reverend.posted by: Larry Jones on 06.21.04 at 10:25 AM [permalink]
"Bush really needs to give a major policy speech at some point outlining his vision for the middle east (and the world). If the realists are truly in his ear and he take the Kerry 'stability line', I think he's in trouble. Kerry may get the nod if the goal is stability because he doesnt have Bush's baggage in Europe and the UN. Bush needs a Reaganesque vision of a democratic and free Iraq, as well as insisting on reform in other nations. Moderates understand the march of freedom and its a good distinction to draw with Kerry."
Very good point. I completely agree. John Kerry makes me want to puke with his stability crap. This was also his attitude during the Cold War. Senator Kerry was a foe of President Reagan. I definitely expect more from President Bush---and I'm confident that this will be the case.posted by: David Thomson on 06.21.04 at 10:25 AM [permalink]
Seminaries generally tend left, because their identification with academia is often quite strong. This is true even of evangelical seminaries. They have almost no knowledge of business, economics, or science; their knowledge of history and the social sciences tends to be strongly dependent on the current academic fashions (I'm sorry, I mean "the results of modern research.")
I don't think Falwell is a big hitter anymore. There is a constellation of respected names, but each of them occasionally differs from the others on some point without denting the evangelical fabric much. And each has his own areas of interest, of course.posted by: Assistant Village Idiot on 06.21.04 at 10:25 AM [permalink]
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