So, I watched quite a few clips of the Democrat candidate CNN Town Hall on all issues LGBTQ+. They must be concerned that the LGBTQ+ community vote isn’t secured. So they are going hard after that 3.8% of voting Americans that identify as one of those letters. Now I’m not sure if this is scheduled for the next CNN Town Hall or the one after that, but I’m looking forward to the Democratic Presidential Candidates pitching their ideas and making a passionate plea to the Evangelical Christian community. Now defining the parameters of who’s an evangelical and who isn’t can be tough (and divisive) but needless to say it’s about 35% of the voting populous. So it certainly makes sense for any Presidential candidate to court that voting block. (Somebody let me know when it’s going to air and I’ll DVR the 6-hour special.) I want to help, so I will outline some ways that the Democrats can gain a higher percentage of Evangelical voters. Now, I am friends with quite a few Christians who vote Democrat; but just looking at the overall statistics from the last presidential election, the evangelical vote went about 80% for Trump, 16% for Clinton, and 4% other (I assume a mix of 3rd Party Candidates, Jesus, and various Princess Bride characters.) So could Dems start getting a higher percentage of Christian Evangelicals? Of course. Here’s how.
Now I’ve been purposefully a little sarcastic up to this point, but I’ll actually be serious from here on out. I think this is actually how the Democratic Party could regain some ground… if they cared to do so. These are not all my opinions necessarily. I’m not trying to get politicians to cater to me. I do feel decently plugged in to the Christian community however, so I’m attempting to speak to what I think a majority of Christians would say, if they had a unified voice. I at least don’t think I’ll say anything that you’d claim that a majority of Christians wouldn’t say. This article could be another few pages but I eliminated things that only southern Christians care about or what only white Christians or black Christians care about. I also am not fighting for what conservative Christians actually want. I know that many Democrat positions aren’t just going to be changed, but if they cared about the Evangelical vote they could moderate their policy and soften their language. So here we go. (Don’t attack me too hard Internet.)
1) Go Back to Treating Abortion like a “Necessary Evil”
If you’ve read anything else I’ve written on abortion, you know that I could not be more Pro-Life. What I’m saying here is that the Democrat position used to be that abortion was horrible, but that it should be legal, safe, and rare. It used to be to protect women from occasional, extreme situations where they would get a back-ally abortion if a legal option wasn’t available. I’ve personally not heard one Democratic Presidential Candidate say anything about abortion even being a “complicated” issue. Is this issue not even debatable on the democratic platform? Could they even debate late term abortion? Or is that completely off limits now? Let me be clear Democrat politicians: I know a TON of Christians that are one-issue voters. In fact, my 30 seconds of research for this article found that over 20% of Republican voters claim abortion is the number 1 issue that concerns them. It feels like the national Democrat platform is not even going to entertain the topic of any kind of limits.
2) Freedom for Churches and Christian Schools
The day the court decision allowing Gay Marriage was handed down, I said that my freedom loving side doesn’t care what 2 consenting adults do; but I expressed my worry was that one day my church would deal with governmental harassment if we chose to not perform gay marriages. I specifically cited that I bet they’ll take away our tax-exempt status first. I had Democrat friends saying that I was nuts; that no serious democratic politician would say that. Well, good ole’ Beto busted that one out on national TV. You can claim that too many Christian are conspiracy theorists saying things like Democrats are going to take our guns and criminalize Christianity. Well, it doesn’t help when all the CNN viewers in the room cheer for the things we worry about. I think there is a nuanced discussion on Christian bakers refusing to create cakes for gay weddings. But come on guys, you got to be strong on letting churches and Christian schools do or not do whatever they want. Even if there are limits to religious freedom (i.e. we don’t let people sacrifice goats in their apartments even if it’s for their religion), don’t muddy the waters by claiming that what Christian tradition has held to since before the US was even a country is suddenly in the last 5 years now worthy of political battle. There is a debate happening in the Christian community on all these LGBTQ+ issues, but they’re an internal matter. The constitution seems pretty clear on this whole religion/assembling thing. Now I honestly don’t believe the Democrats are coming for my livelihood (I work as a pastor and a professor at a Christian college). I’m just saying, the impression is out there in the Christian community and lately Democrats aren’t dispelling the notion.
3) Emphasis on Transgender Children
I’m telling you, Christian’s don’t get this one. Most people have not had a relationship with a transgender person nor listened to interviews, etc. It’s certainly a tough, at times heartbreaking, and always a difficult subject. But as much as I think most Christians would just have a “out of sight, out of mind” attitude; focusing so much on children is very, very confusing to a huge majority of Christians. It feels like child abuse. Now I’m not a psychologist, but the truth is, I feel like I only hear from politicians on trans children issues and I’m not hearing coherent arguments from actual professionals. As someone who has worked in education most of his life, I’ve thought a lot on how we should handle children who claim to be a different gender from their birth sex and how we should handle bathrooms, sports, and the like. I’m not going to go into that now, but I for one am happy to tell Christians that this issue isn’t super simple, and I can’t make parents handle things the way that I would handle them. But the national democratic platform seems to be treating this issue as if it’s pretty simple. It just isn’t. Similarly, having “free” healthcare pay for gender reassignment surgery is just not going to connect with Christian voters. Elizabeth Warren apologized for saying back in 2012 that she didn’t think the taxpayers should pay for a transgender prisoner’s surgery. That was obviously the right call and she shouldn’t be apologizing now just to placate a crowd. Christians aren’t going to like paying for abortions or transgender surgeries when there’s Medicare for all or whatever plan gets signed into executive order.
These issues are a little more on the fringe of the party but are getting more and more of a national platform.
4) Support of Israel
This is specifically an evangelical Christian argument. Now there are those who identify as evangelical that do not hold to a theological support of Israel, but when you add up those who do theologically support Israel (i.e. they believe God has future plans for the nation of Israel) with those who politically support Israel there is an overwhelming majority of support. Where support for Israel used to be bipartisan, there seems to be increasing division between the Republicans and Democrats in this area – if not yet in practice, certainly in rhetoric. This issue could continue to alienate evangelical voters.
Christians in general don’t like it because evangelical Christians haven’t fared super well in communist and heavily government controlled countries. Whether it’s a fair comparison or not many Christians think of USSR, China, and Nazi Germany interning and killing evangelical Christians. The Christians who first arrived in this new land were specifically fleeing countries that had too much government control over religious practice. The separatist puritans who flooded the new world were weary of powerful governments. I think American Christians in general will always distrust the concept of a more powerful government and politicians (even when they seem to trust those on their political spectrum more than they should.)
So that’s the list I feel the Democrat party could adjust their messaging in these areas if they wanted to target the evangelical Christian community. I’m not saying that all Christians would switch parties because many care about fiscal issues, foreign policies, gun rights, and other GOP talking points that do not necessarily have actual biblical connection. Even if they adopt these mitigated policies they might just not do enough to placate evangelical voters. But there would at least be potential to make the case for why evangelicals should begin to switch their vote.