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Just like us

November 7, 2012

Ouch! 

That has to be the reaction a lot of Republicans, including many politically-oriented evangelicals, this morning.  President Obama was re-elected with a clear electoral college majority and it appears that the Senate has gone slightly more Democrat.  Republicans have held their own in the House.  I will leave it to the spin doctors on both sides to explain these things in a favorable light. 

If there is a lesson here for evangelical “values voters” it is that we live in a country that is not just like us.  The thrust of evangelical politicking has been an effort to turn out the vote; to get the old silent majority to “protect our values.”  This is a good strategy when a majority of the voters are “just like us.”  But in an increasing way, they are not.

The cracks started back with evangelical politicking in the Republican primaries.  Evangelicals in droves ran away from Mormon Romney because he was not “just like us.”  After he won the nomination we saw many run back to him because he, in values, was “more like us”.  It was an embarrassment to see all those who made “Mormonism is a cult” comments suddenly deciding that it wasn’t so bad after all.  Romney was often accused of being a flip-flopper but he could take flip-flop lessons from politically active evangelicals.

We then had the two Senate races where the subject of abortion in the case of rape became issues.  Both pro-life candidates lost.  I am strongly and unapologetically pro-life but I cringed over how rape became a key issue.  Recent studies indicate that abortions after a rape represent 0.33% of all abortions.  Is it possible, in a drive enact laws that are 100% “just like us” evangelicals left behind those who are 99.67% “like us?”

Last night Minnesota became the first state to reject a “defense of marriage” amendment to their state constitution.  Earlier this year my state, North Carolina, overwhelmingly passed such an amendment, largely through the support of evangelicals.  Minnesota, like North Carolina, already had a law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.  As respects who can get married nothing has changed in either state.  In the drive to make laws “just like us” are evangelicals striving for meaningless victories that may hurt us in the long run? 

The odd thing about this is that our faith was born, and grew explosively, in a world where nobody was just like them.  Even today, most evangelical growth is occurring in countries where the whole “just like us” theory is absurd.  Maybe we should abandon trying to win by rallying the “just like us” team.  Maybe we should try to win hearts, not votes.  As of last night 2,186,986 people had signed the pledge to vote for Jesus.   Maybe Jesus doesn’t want us to vote for Him.  Maybe He wants us to tell more people about Him.

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