A rather surprising poll was released today on the Fox News Channel - 68% of White Evangelicals said they could not vote for Barack Obama, 21% could not vote for John McCain, and only 11% could not vote for Hillary Clinton.
The only number that seems unsurprising is John McCain's. His foul mouth and general discomfort with evangelicals are legends. While Hillary and Barack have been heard using the same words, they do not appear angry in public, and seem to have gotten a pass on this. No one believes his attendance at a Southern Baptist Church in Arizona is convincing. While his official positions are largely in line with the moral agenda of many evangelicals, his support for embryonic stem cell research being the notable exception, Christians INCLUDING ME distrust him. Much of the anger of conservatives seems targeted at his McCain-Feingold and McCain-Lieberman bills on Campaign Finance Reform and Immigration respectively. I suppose most evangelicals will end up voting for him, but having twice the negative factor as Hillary is amazing.
Burns Strider was hired by Hillary as an "evangelical consultant". Hill has been speaking in terms less offensive to evangelicals while at the same time not changing one iota of her anti-family, pro-homosexual, pro-abortion agenda. It is amazing to me that 89% of evangelicals think that sharing a platform with Rick Warren (the Robert Schuller-style positive thinking author of "The Purpose-Driven Life" and other books) and speaking in softer tones makes a difference. After all, Barack shared the platform at Saddleback as well, and it seemed to create far more negative buzz. Hill and Barack stand for essentially the same things. Hill is currently less critical of the Iraq War, but she has vacillated so much on the issue I frankly cannot comprehend how anybody, whether evangelical or not, could seriously consider her qualified to be a Commander-in-Chief. Playing to the polls is simply a disqualifier for the position. Her husband's vacillation in office and his distaste for taking strong principled stands after we were attacked are cited by many as prime reasons 9/11 happened in the first place.
Evangelicals have morphed into a strange land. Before he died, Jerry Falwell was quoted as saying, "I hope she's the candidate, because nothing would energize my constituency like Hillary Clinton." He even said, "If Lucifer ran, he wouldn't." Hillary had unbelievably galvanized the electorate like no one else. Where are the folks who made Abortion a litmus test for Republican hopefuls? Where are those who were responsible for the 1994 take-over of congress? Where are those who saw through her recreated history in her autobiography?
I believe it is because so many evangelicals have changed. They are very desirous of not being on the outside or seen as intolerant. They have allowed apostate professors in droves to infiltrate their seminaries. They often do not even believe in Genesis anymore. They are more and more embarrassed by those who take uncompromisingly Biblical stands. They have accepted women in the pulpit and in senior leadership despite the clear teachings of the Bible they claim to believe. They are much more likely to be softer on moral issues - many Evangelical Christians routinely watch movies their parents would have run far from. I hear the "s" word and other curses from their lips. They divorce almost as much as non-Christians. Evangelical men are increasingly expecting pre-marital intercourse, though perhaps later than their non-believing counterparts. Some of the largest evangelical churches in the country preach a soft me-centered gospel that lacks the power of God. Major Christian TV programs have strayed so far from Orthodoxy - the personalities and the presentations and their interesting "words" replace any faithfulness to Biblical fidelity. "Christian" music is often indistinguishable from the world's unless you read the indecipherable lyrics. Repentance and hell are on the back burner if on the stove at all. No wonder attitudes toward homosexuality are softening markedly and people are cowering in the face of political correctness run amok. A radio broker told me 90% of pastors do not want their churches in an openly soul-winning posture on the radio - they want to be pillars of the community that people can come to and be blessed with their families. They shun the spotlight. Very few Evangelical Christians are truly Biblically literate any longer, and they do not know what Christ taught. It is a feel-good and inclusive religion that differs in degree but less in concept from the traditionally liberal denominations. It is only natural that the desire to not be identified with "narrow-minded fundamentalists" has caused people to vote increasingly for those with stridently anti-Biblical stands.
I believe there is also a more sinister element - racism. Hill and Bill have shown that the "first black president" title was a sham, and that they are as racially charged as anyone. This has been well-known by those with discernment, but many had the wool pulled over their eyes. Given a choice between a bi-racial liberal man and a white liberal woman, they go with the white woman.
Barack's campaign approach has been far more similar to Christian goals of cooperation and a softer touch than either of the others. He is a church-goer, albeit in a denomination which is the most liberal in protestantism and probably the most antagonistic to truly born-again Bible-believing Christians. His tolerance and positions may be no better than Hillary's, but he does not carry the same baggage and comes across as not nasty but user-friendly.
If Barack and Hillary had the same negative rating, I would understand it. For Barack to have SIX TIMES more negativity seems to simply be an issue of the old race issue or the embarrassing susceptibility of Christians to believe some internet legends and hear-say negative pieces. I believe it is both. Some of the stuff people circulate on ANY number of issues is not worthy of belief. So are so many pulpit messages, whether on the TV or their home church, the gullible assimilate into their spirits without checking them out in the Bible. I would have hoped for better.
It will be interesting how these attitudes will stay the same or change as we move closer to November.