Something that makes the upcoming U.S. Presidential election so interesting to me: It seems like those conservative Protestants called Evangelicals are no longer such a solid block of voters.
Is that true? And if it is, will it make a decisive difference come November? I'm not sure. But here's a little more about what I mean.
It seems that some evangelical leaders (for example, Jim Wallis, head of the Sojourners) have done a lot to broaden what at least some Evangelicals care about. For example, in a radio interview several weeks ago , Wallis mentioned that in recent memory the huge majority of Evangelicals were focused on (1) abortion and (2) same-sex marriage, but that today it is much more likely that an Evangelical will also care about (1) poverty, (2) HIV/AIDS, (3) places like Darfur, (4) climate change, and (5) the war in Iraq.
I think Wallis is right. If he is, then it seems like the Democratic Party would have an easier time getting Evangelicals to vote for their candidate. (That's not to say that I necessarily think that the Democrats' policies are better on those questions. It is to say that, if a person cares about such issues, his perception would likely be that he's a better fit in the Democratic Party).
Among what I'd call "theological influences" that promote that sort of shift would be teachings, for example, that involve care for the Creation in response to humanity's stewardship of the earth, which goes back to Genesis 1 and involves the love of neighbor.
Now, I'm not one for moving to a conclusion without first establishing the premises,. But I might speculate that if American Evangelicals are significantly more diverse now than they were just a few years ago, then this could turn out to be an especially-interesting election.
In short, I think that a recent growth in diversity among American Evangelicals would be a very good sign for Barack Obama.
What do you think?