I’ve been talking for a while now about evangelicals who fall into the camp of reluctant Republicans, but, holy political soldiers, The New York Times Magazine dedicated some 7,500 words to the subject. I don’t have much time today to offer my insights, but here is the nut:
The 2008 election is just the latest stress on a system of fault lines that go much deeper. The phenomenon of theologically conservative Christians plunging into political activism on the right is, historically speaking, something of an anomaly. Most evangelicals shrugged off abortion as a Catholic issue until after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. But in the wake of the ban on public-school prayer, the sexual revolution and the exodus to the suburbs that filled the new megachurches, protecting the unborn became the rallying cry of a new movement to uphold the traditional family. Now another confluence of factors is threatening to tear the movement apart. The extraordinary evangelical love affair with Bush has ended, for many, in heartbreak over the Iraq war and what they see as his meager domestic accomplishments. That disappointment, in turn, has sharpened latent divisions within the evangelical world â over the evangelical alliance with the Republican Party, among approaches to ministry and theology, and between the generations.