Thursday, November 13, 2008

Voting patterns among Christians

There are no two voting blocks closer to one another in personal standards of morality than white evangelicals and black protestants. And there are no two voting blocks further apart.

How can this be?

12 comments:

Kindra said...

I have no answer for this, other than looking at socioeconomic status and family history (i.e., whatever political party your parents/grandparents were affiliated with is the party that you vote for).

Although, I did hear on the radio that Proposition 8 in California (affirming heterosexual marriage in the CA constitution) was resoundly voted for by black voters who also voted for Obama, which some supporters site as a reason that it passed. I found that interesting.

KG said...

Yes, I have heard the same reports about Prop 8. More than 75% of African Americans voted for it. More than any other voting block that could be compared.

This again points out that on personal standards of morality white and black Christians are close.

But as far as traditional party affiliations there is a huge gap.

Steve said...

How can this be?

Failure on the part of both parties to let their political convictions be driven solely be their theology.

That's a little oversimplified, obviously, but the heart of the matter, I think.

Throw in their profoundly different experiences as Americans, and you might have your answer...

JP Paulus said...

Steve,

Did you mean black and white in terms of "both parties"? Because I think both republican & Democratic theologies are quite flawed ;)


I wanted to add in thta i think it's because the "opposite" party has marginalized said groups. I have seen Black Republicans, in a sense, "complain" about the republicans' relationship with the African American community. Even if the Republican party was the "party of Lincoln" and all that, it hasn't seemed like it to the African American community for at least a generation or two.

In the same way, I am sure those who are against abortion don't feel they have a place in the Democratic party, in general...though we do see some rare cases (usually within a state, like Governor or state congressman -- not on the national scene).

If Christians voted on specific issues, rather than parties, we would see more instances like California Prop. 8

KG said...

JP,
On your point about the Republican Party and their failure to be attractive to the black community, I was just talking about this yesterday over lunch with someone.

I feel that the Republican party has basically given up on trying to reach out to African Americans in this country. They feel that they can win elections without the "black vote" and so they no longer make any effort. As a result, they are falling furthur and furthur out of touch with the country as a result of the continuing demographic change of our country racially.

Steve said...

JP,

Both parties refers to the two voting blocks Kevin posted about.

I don't ever expect the DNC or the RNC to have their politics driven by theology... lol

KG said...

I think that Steve stated a big part of it when he stated that the two groups have "profoundly different experiences as Americans."

If white Christians would take a minute to understand what it is like to walk in the shoes of their brothers and sisters of different races then the two groups might be a bit closer politically.

JP Paulus said...

Kevin,

i think white people need more than a minute, or even a day or a week.

There have been plenty of "Black History Month" special speakers, Promise Keeper events, even mission trips.

It needs to be a lifestyle change, where is there is long term relationship (even via the internet). i think it's happening, but slowly, and in some cases, superficially.

But it needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Kindra said...

Kevin,

I've been thinking about this question more lately and thinking "well, maybe it was because Kennedy/Johnson pushed through the Civil Rights act of 1968." And then I did some research and it was the Southern Democrats (Dixiecrats) who tried in vain to fillibuster the bill. After that bill passed, there was a seismic shift of southern whites to the GOP.

I think that the GOP's opposition to Affirmative Action is unattractive to black voters. I think the way GOP has moved away from trying to reach out to non-white voters is unattractive (the GOP convention this year was as lily white as you could get it). I do think family history/social pressure has a lot to do with it as well.

This is also kind of an interesting link:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081102220033AAjLNHi

It's just a bunch of joe schmoe's talking about this topic, but it is somewhat interesting if you can filter out the garbage.

Steve said...

This is why we need to learn to transcend party affiliation.

The various political parties all have some good qualities - some more than others - but they all have some significant drawbacks as well.

If we could learn to live in the tension of voting Kingdom values as much as possible, I think we could get along a little better.

That does not solve the historical issues, but it would certainly help the current situation!

hammerdad said...

Mark Noll just wrote a book about this specfically. He also gave a series of lectures on the same topic you can listen to online here:

http://purechurch.blogspot.com/2008/04/noll-lectures-at-princeton-on-race.html

KG said...

Thanks Joel for passing this along. I know many of us want to bring greater understanding and communication within the body of Christ. I will check this out.