We Have A Name Don't You Know:
Bush Campaign Ashamed Of The Word's “Protestant”, “Evangelical” & “Christian” (A Blast From The Past)
Someone forwarded me an email about volunteering with the Bush Reelection Campaign. Curious, I clicked on the link for no other reason than to see what was up or --- to phrase it in a more sophisticated manner --- to gather intelligence.
As part of the registration process, those logging onto the site have the option of participating in various outreach efforts targeted at specific demographic groups or policy interests. Among the groups potential volunteers can direct their efforts towards include Arabs, Hispanics, African Americans, and Young Professionals. There are even efforts targeted at faith-based communities, with Jews and Catholics being specifically mentioned.
It would seem the remaining one-third of America's ecclesiastical triad, Protestantism, is not named. Sure, there are a number of policy categories that would appeal to conservative Protestants such as pro-life and homeschool efforts. But if you are going to mention Jews and Catholics specifically, don't Evangelicals or Protestants deserve the same courtesy?
The form does provide the nebulous choice of “Religious Conservative”. But when you come down to it, that can cover just about anything.
One could argue that, within his own faith, Osama Bin Ladin is himself a “Religious Conservative”. Nearly the same thing as well could be said about the Utah polygamist who ups and marries the entirety of the local junior high school cheerleading squad.
If one is not going to mention Evangelicals or Protestants, then why extend such recognition to Jews and Catholics? After all, aren't the ones within these respective groups likely to vote for the President Bush religious conservatives anyway?
Defenders of these campaign tactics might counter that these groups are more denominationally homogeneous than their religious counterparts on the Protestant side of the ecclesiastical divide. However, while there might be fewer denominational structures to deal with among Catholics and Jews, in many respects these communities are as theologically fractious even if not so obviously on the surface.
The most prominent voices of Jewish leadership are so pathetically leftist as evidence by rackets such as the Anti-Defamation League. It's frankly a waste of money and a lost cause for Republicans to try and persuade these voters since most belonging to groups such as this barely embrace anything even remotely resembling Old Testament doctrines and values.
The same thing could pretty much be said about Roman Catholics as well. For while all Catholics might belong to the same church, does anyone believe Bills Bennett and Buckley have that much in common with the Brothers Berigan?
Still others will counter that Jew and Catholic are more cultural identity than anything else. But why not the same with Evangelical Protestantism?
As with Jews and Catholics who embrace these sociological classifications more as their primary cultural identity rather than as a religion, those embracing Protestantism often share enough behavioral characteristics unique to their own way of life to qualify as what Randall Balmer termed the “Evangelical subculture” in his “Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory”. Likewise, as with Evangelicals, Jews began as a community organized around a shared system of belief, but so many have abandoned that faith and must now organize around the less noble foundation of ethnicity in order to maintain some kind of identity.
Even if one accepts the previous points as valid, one might still argue it is best not to mention Evangelicals by name since many progressives and secularists find the term offensive. In this age of radical inclusion, after all, inoffensiveness and tolerance have become the highest values to which we are to aspire, even surpassing in importance those of less enlightened eras such as truth, self-reliance, and liberty.
Going back to the previous example, there are critics to the theological left and right of the Roman Catholic Church offended by beliefs held by that particular denomination. Yet apparently the Republican Party has no qualms about publicizing their desire to appeal to Catholic voters.
Even more importantly, the GOP has no qualms with pandering to immigrants by also providing a translation of their website in Spanish. Despite the fact most are terrified to admit it for fear of being labeled “racist” or whatever other slur the hypertolerant are using this week to beat the common man into submission, the vast majority of Americans are sick and tired of the ongoing surrender to foreign tongues uttered by freeloading aliens harboring no intentions of acclimating to our way of life and catered to by elites using these transnational vagrants as a tool through which to undermine the foundations of this republic.
If the Republican Party is so ashamed of its Evangelical supporters, perhaps it should try winning elections without their votes. I doubt they'll get very far electorally since the reprobate vote is pretty much sewn into the Democratic Party.
Matthew 10:33 reads, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” If the higher-ups in the Republican Party continue to distance themselves from Evangelical voters, maybe Evangelical voters should reciprocate the gesture come election day.
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. Frederick holds a BS in Political Science/History, a MA in Apologetics/Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a PhD. in Christian Apologetics from Newburgh Theological Seminary.