The Corner

Whither the Pro-Obama Evangelical?

The abortion celebration masquerading as the Democratic National Convention is making life very difficult for President Obama’s remaining Evangelical supporters. In 2008, the media celebrated Mr. Obama’s gains with young Evangelicals after he doubled John Kerry’s numbers with Evangelicals under 44. His gains were most pronounced in the swing states (where he obviously concentrated his efforts). Then, the pro-Obama Evangelical message emphasized “social justice” over abortion, appealed to Christian longing for unity and our weariness with the culture wars, and argued that Obama was a new kind of Democrat, one willing to listen to and work with Evangelicals.

Since that time, three things have become clear. First, many of the “Evangelicals” who worked most diligently to advance President Obama’s cause have turned out to be, well, not all that Evangelical. The Evangelical movement is grappling with its own theological identity crisis, with many younger “emerging” Christians essentially following the trail the mainline churches blazed almost five decades ago — walking right out of orthodoxy. It turned out that Obama-love was part of the exit process, rather than a new movement within Evangelicalism.

Second, young Evangelicals helped elect Obama, but social justice didn’t break out. Obama was supposed to ease poverty, but poverty has increased. He was supposed to create jobs, but disability claims are rising faster than employment. He was supposed to end the wars, yet he withdrew from Iraq on Bush’s timetable, reinforced Afghanistan, launched an unprecedented drone campaign in Pakistan, and kept open Gitmo. Prosperity, equality, and peace — the dreams of the “social justice” Evangelicals — have turned into poverty, unemployment, and continued war.

Third, Obama doubled down on the sexual revolution. This ground is well-trod here in the Corner, but has there been a president in our lifetime more determined to conscript the American taxpayer into funding a libertine and deadly sexual culture?  

War, poverty, unemployment, and abortion? That wasn’t supposed to be the deal. Expect to see Mitt Romney’s share of the evangelical vote match or exceed President Bush’s in 2004.

(Disclosure: I’m the co-founder of Evangelicals for Mitt.)

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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