I’ve come to feel increasingly alienated from evangelical culture, and politics is an important reason. I used to write about this a lot more on Long Pauses, but I grew tired of my own voice and my own hypocrisies. Too much finger-pointing. Plus, the results of the 2004 election broke my heart. I’ve felt more than a bit defeated and hopelessly cynical ever since.
Not surprisingly, President Bush was at his best last night when asked about his faith and family. Ignoring for a moment the relevance of such questions in a supposed domestic policy debate that never addressed the environment, the Patriot Act, or stem cell research, those two questions allowed Bush to put aside policy (which is awfully complicated) to talk instead about feelings and relationships.
“Christian” — if you mean by Christian what the Sermon on the Mount says — is a weighty word, and it’s serious, and, most remarkable of all, it’s full of grace. Please don’t affix that word to this country, which, for some reason, has been blessed with the delicate gift of democracy but will never deserve it.
Within the strange confines of my personal experience, many of the “Regular Joes” who support President Bush and his agenda seem to do so because he is pro-life and because he evidences publicly the recognizable signs of a “committed walk with God.” Within this community — this large, evangelical sub-culture — voting Republican is a “moral” act, a single gesture by which evangelicals hope to restore America to its Christian foundations.