Magazine article The Christian Century

Beyond the God Gap: Is Politics a Zero-Sum Game, or Is It Possible to Talk about the Common Good:

Magazine article The Christian Century

Beyond the God Gap: Is Politics a Zero-Sum Game, or Is It Possible to Talk about the Common Good:

Article excerpt

The election of Barack Obama offers hope that religion will play a more constructive role in the public arena rather than the largely divisive role it has played in recent years. One sign of hope is that Obama was able to narrow the Democrats' so-called God gap. Whereas George Bush enjoyed a 29-point advantage over John Kerry among voters who attend church more than once a week, Obama reduced the Republican advantage to 12 points, according to data released by Faith in Public Life. And while Kerry lost the vote of those who attend religious services on a monthly basis by two points, Obama won that group by two points.

Obama's appeal to Catholic voters was also dramatic given the concerns expressed by American bishops about his stance on abortion. He received 55 percent of the Catholic vote, much of which reflected his overwhelming support among Hispanics.

Overall, evangelicals continued to support Republicans at close to their previous levels, but Obama doubled Kerry's level of support among evangelicals under the age of 45. And half the votes that flipped Indiana from red to blue came from evangelicals (see Mark Silk's article on page 10).

Beneath these numbers lies a deeper trend among evangelicals, according to Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals. He sees a chasm growing between mainstream evangelicals and the religious right. The religious right has viewed politics as a zero-sum game in which "somebody else has to lose for us to win. …

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