Cal Thomas penned a sober and pragmatic assessment of the typical conservative, Evangelical Christian, pro-family voter (if there is such a specimen): The Maturing of the Right.
After a factual and fair rundown of the candidates for President on the Republican side, Thomas concludes with this analysis:
That substantial numbers of conservative evangelical voters are even considering these candidates as presidential prospects is a sign of their political maturation and of their more pragmatic view of what can be expected from politics and politicians. It is also evidence that many of them are awakening to at least two other realities — (1) they are not electing a church deacon; and (2) government has limited power to rebuild a crumbling social construct.
I think Mr. Thomas has it right here, which would explain why Giuliani is polling so well among social conservatives. But, he doesn’t stop there and points out that, perhaps rather than simply voting “right,” professing believers need to live “right.”
Until this election cycle, most social conservatives supported candidates and policies based on the married with children “ideal” family model. It may be the ideal, but it is no longer widely practiced, including by many conservative evangelicals. Researchers have found many conservative Christians live in states where divorce rates are highest. These states overwhelmingly oppose same-sex marriage. Too bad they don’t do a better job supporting opposite-sex marriage in which they claim to believe.
Thomas interjects a potent dose of pragmatism, when he writes:
While “character issues” can overlap with other concerns when considering for whom to vote, conservative evangelicals are beginning to see them as less important than who can meet the multiple challenges faced by the nation. Put it this way: if you are about to have major surgery and your only choice was a church-going doctor with a high mortality rate, or an agnostic with a high success record, which would it be? I’d choose the agnostic.
I think this would square well with Paul the apostle of Jesus, who recognized the God-given role of secular government and who appealed to his rights as a citizen on a number of occasions. He never seemed to care if he was heard by a pagan, a Jew or a Christian. He simply sought basic human and civil rights.
What does Thomas’ column have to do with LDS week here at bosalisbury.com? He seems encouraged that some Evangelicals will overlook Romney’s peculiar beliefs, and consider his position on issues.
Romney, a Mormon, is the poster boy for family values: one wife, handsome children, and no apparent personal skeletons in his closet, but some, not all, evangelicals can’t get over the Mormon belief that Jesus once visited America.