Friday, November 7, 2008

Polls Confirms Young Evangelical Shift

A new exit poll reveals that support for Barack Obama among younger evangelicals doubled when compared to John Kerry in 2004. Among the findings was this staggering fact: only 49% of young evangelicals now identify as "conservative" and over half favor either same sex marriage (24%) or civil unions (28%).

After reading the Faith in Public Life press release containing this information, I immediately thought back to an article I published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution back in April of this year titled "WWJD? Vote for Obama, More and More Young Evangelicals Say." I remember the emails I got telling me that I was crazy. People couldn't believe it, and more than one commented that even though young evangelicals said they would vote for Obama, many would change their minds when they actually stepped up to cast their ballots.

Undoubtedly, this should translate into a wake-up call for Republicans and blood in the water for Democrats. If the President-elect delivers on his promises "such as seeking real solutions on abortions, abolishing nuclear weapons, ending torture, caring for the poor, and stewardship of creation then the myth that Christians are a reliable partisan base will vanish in our generation," commented Tyler Wigg-Stevenson of the Two Futures Project in today's press release.
Perhaps Wigg-Stevenson is right. Perhaps Obama will deliver on his promises. Perhaps the young evangelical shift will continue. Either way, we can all agree on this: things are about to get interesting.


I commented on this new data in Chris Quinn's article, "Obama Shifted Some Church Voters," in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Check out the article and let me know your thoughts. 

Do you feel there is some general relief even among solid Republicans that we can put the Bush era behind us? 


Anonymous said...

The Bible also suggests a poll that many fathers will be divided against sons...etc...

and yet aother Biblical poll that suggests there will be a great many who have claimed to be Christians will turn away.

I pay very little attention to polls, statistics, and news rhetoric unless it comes from the Bible - they really have very little value to the Kingdom of God.

Christine said...


and i voted for obama

although, I'm 36 - so I don't get to be considered a young evangelical


Anonymous said...

just to clarify - i didn't vote for Obama, nor did i vote for McCain...but that's irrelevant.

I'm just saying - why should Christians really care who the world thinks we "associate" with? If it's not an acssociation with Jesus it matters not.

Jonathan Merritt said...

36? You're a younger evangelical as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

I just want to share my thoughts...real quick. ;) I agree with Obama's ideology in that we need to reach out and help the poor, the disease stricken, feed the hungry, and give equal opportunity for everyone. That really is the way Jesus would have us live.

But I feel that the government in doing so through the myrriad of programs in fact undermines the church and has been for quite some time..Thus making the church (especially the American church) complacent and lethargic. That is why I can not support a government that would do so. However, I also can not support a government that would flippantly attack another people group because we feel threatened...both are way wrong....

Medical Insurance (in fact most insurances), in my opinion, undermines the church.

And while these programs are all with the best intent - they detract from what Christ wants His church to do becuase they make people become dependant on programs and government rather than the church...while at the same time - the church says "did you try the welfare office?"

This is just a very little nutshell.

Again...if the church would do what we're supposed to do - we would have no need for these government funded programs.

Adam McCullough said...

My concern is that younger evangelical Christians have left their Biblical convictions on very clear issues of Scripture in which we should do our best to prevent from happening for the hope of lining their pockets with a little more cash.

We can debate government ideologies, policies, and things of this nature all we want. There is no Scriptural mandate that I am aware of that says what is the right form of government. Scripture is clear there were many different governments in which the people of God were under, but there task still remains the same.

Yes, environment is important and we need to make conscious efforts to improve how we affect the earth and atmosphere, but not at the expense of opening up more potential abortions and liberal morality. Christ came to save sinners, mankind. Though Scripture doesn't say it clearly, I believe by inference of what God came to save (man) that there is a priority order. Mankind and the preservation of life trumps environmental issues every time. Can both be accomplished, yes. But when you have one candidate who will at least hold ground where we are as a nation on the issues of life and morality that affirm Scriptural stances and one candidate who is very candid about loosening them, for me, and I would pray all Christians, the issues of environment, government, type of healthcare (govt or private), and economy are secondary.

As for war, there is just war. I believe we went to Iraq on bad intelligence and false pretenses, yes. Looking back should we have? Mixed feelings on it because there was great atrocities taking place under Hussein. We gave him ample opportunities to let people in to check for the weapons, he refused again and again, raising suspicion he validated the claims. Once we were in and saw the info was bogus we couldn't just leave the people defenseless. We toppled their govt. There would be even greater loss of innocent life if we had just left, and left the area to do for itself in that area of the world.

As for the young evangelical shift. It seems to me the shift is caused because young evangelicals are looking and thinking more like the world than like Christ. They choose $$ over affirming Biblical stances. When you have a Democrat who affirms pro-life, stands for the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, then I'll consider them. But until then the Rep party on most cases affirm my Biblical convictions.

On the debatable side of things I do stand with the Rep party's fundamental ideals of government.

Anonymous said...

Question for Adam on the Iraq War:

How does one justify the deaths of anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000 Iraqis since the Invasion? The real number of Iraqi dead is hard to come by, but it is really a lot of people, mostly civilians as they tend to be in modern warfare. The ethnic cleansing, the persecution of minorities, etc. And the depleted uranium that is used in the armor-piercing weapons that we will leave behind, tainting the soil and water - it is a shameful legacy.

And who gave America the right to unilaterally serve 'justice' onto the Iraqi's?

Jesus would not approve, I feel quite sure.

Anonymous said...


"But I feel that the government in doing so through the myrriad of programs in fact undermines the church and has been for quite some time..Thus making the church (especially the American church) complacent and lethargic."

Are you saying that it is the Government's fault that the Church is not taking responsibility for the poor and needy? I would say it is just the opposite. Because the Church has not taken care of the poor and needy, the government needed to step in.

Shame on us - not the Goverment.

And by the way - I did not vote for Obama either...

Anonymous said...

"Are you saying that it is the Government's fault that the Church is not taking responsibility for the poor and needy? I would say it is just the opposite. Because the Church has not taken care of the poor and needy, the government needed to step in."

It is a problem that started with the Church, and the government's response (while totally unconstitutional and actually unBiblical) has perpetuated and encouraged the problem within the Church (lethargy & complacency).

It is not the government’s job. It is the Church’s job. As the government continues to grow and intervene in the areas that the Church is supposed to, the world will think less and less of the Church and our value. And, that I believe is a problem. The world will turn to government – and not to Christ’s church.

Jonathan Merritt said...

"Are you saying that it is the Government's fault that the Church is not taking responsibility for the poor and needy? I would say it is just the opposite. Because the Church has not taken care of the poor and needy, the government needed to step in."

I have to agree with statement in it's entirety. I am not a big government guy, but I believe there is a place for the government in the social sector when no one else will step up to the plate.

Katie Corbett said...

I once heard that if every evangelical church in America would adopt just one family that is on government assistance and help them get on their feet, that the need for a government welfare system would be obsolete...i'm not sure of the accuracy of that, but it is something that I think of when I think of big government and the role that the church should be playing in taking care of people.

Anonymous said...

Too often, Christians who vote look to the electability of a person based on their "Christlikeness" (if you will)....but the Church is the one who is to represent Christ - not the government.

I don't want the government doing the Church's job. As the government grows, the Church will be de-valued by the world. I see that as a huge problem. Let the government do what it is constitutionally supposed to do, and let the Church do what we are Biblically supposed to do.

The trust that government will fall. The Bible shows us that all governments of man will...the Church will not.

Jonathan Merritt said...


One point of disagreement:

Scripture never says that the Church will not fail. It says the Church will not disappear. A minor, but significant difference.


Anonymous said...

Jonathan..I didn't say FAIL. I said FALL

Jonathan Merritt said...

That's what I meant.

Adam McCullough said...


I usually don't respond to others when they aren't willing to put at least a screen name behind their statements, but in your case I will, hoping that for some reason Blogger wouldn't let you and thus forced to post as anonymous.

My question is who is it that is killing the Iraq people, the innocent, the civilians? The US is not killing the Iraq people, not the innocent civilians.

I justify being there BECAUSE we screwed up. We went in and toppled their govt. What are we suppose to do?! Just leave them. "Oh, we thought your dictator had weapons of mass destruction which he intend to use against us and our allies and test out on you but we were wrong. We'll just leave now and leave you all open and vulnerable to be taken over and slaughtered by a neighboring enemy that would allow for greater instability in this region and more ground for hatred to be spread. We'll leave you without a govt., infrastructure, any laws, or military. We don't care about you. You can just die.?!!" NO!

As I stated before I believe we were wrong to enter Iraq as we did. I admit that. But it would definitely be unloving and even more reprehensible to have just walked out on them.

Unfortunately, the US is in a no win situation with the world. As the most powerful and prosperous nation in the world everyone looks to us to lead the fight against injustices. The world looks at us as the world police asking us and yelling at us for not intervening on atrocities and when we do we are condemned as invaders and brutes because we have intervened and people have died. You can't have it both ways. When there is war people die. I hate it too but that is the fact. The US is the most proactive nation to pursue warfare technologies to reduce the risk of innocent life being taken in war.

Also, you might want to brush up on your history. The Iraq people were under greater torture and violence under Hussein than now. Ethnic cleansing and persecution of minorities were greatly used by Hussein to instill fear in his people. People wouldn't stand up to him. Now they are casting ballots for elections, they have freedoms never thought of. Women are voting and gaining rights. Ethnic cleansing has stopped and there are many great efforts to promote reconciliation, unity, and peace among the many factions of Iraq.

Spiritual freedom came at a cost, it cost Jesus his life. Physical and religious freedom comes at a cost as well, unfortunately. This is where we have to agree to disagree because I do believe Jesus would approve of our efforts to make right what we did wrong.

To me, the shameful legacy would be to have left Iraq alone and let Hussein continue to kill, murder, torture innocent people. It is nothing short of the development of Hitler all over again. Then no one stepped in until it was too late. Now, we step in and prevent those atrocities from escalating to that level and we are condemned.

Do you argue that nothing needs to be done in Darfur? The same things are happening there that were under Hussein. But yet people cry out to intervene and stop it. If we intervened there, would you say it was wrong? I'm curious to know. Do we not help those in need, help the persecuted, the hurting, the poor, and the outcast? I believe we do need to help.

I respect your opinion, but I respectfully disagree.

Bill said...

(Formerly known as anonymous) There. Cat's out of the bag.


In your original post, you had mixed feelings. Now, you feel that it was wrong for us to enter as we did. That’s progress. But it feels very wishy washy. Like the sort of apology that goes along the lines of “mistakes have been made”, or “I am very sorry that you are unhappy that I just did that”. As if somehow we just had no choice and Saddam made us do it, that crazy man.

Yes, we broke it, and once you’re in is really is hard to get out. Your suggestion that we ought not up and leave after inviting ourselves in is completely reasonable and I take no issue with it all, especially after we removed their government, disassembled their army and police forces and blew up most of their infrastructure. Yes indeed, mistakes may have been made.

A better argument for USA removing Saddam is that we were supporting him for so many years. He was after all our guy, helping us to fight the awful Iranians, so we had to sell him lots of wonderful weapons and things, and look the other way when he used nerve gas on battlefield. So maybe the time to deal with the fact that Hussein was a creep was back when he was on the dole, receiving aid from the good old USA.

Maybe the Iraqis will end up better for this liberation that we gave them. I don’t have a crystal ball and I can’t pretend to know whether the ethnic cleansing and tribal killings that have preoccupied the Iraqis for the better part of the last few years will ultimately lead to a strong and vibrant democratic culture. But I doubt it. I do think that as long as our troops are there that the Iraqis will not be able to put the society back together. So that’s a real catch-22, if we leave it falls apart and it can’t really be fixed until we are gone. Now that the Iraqi’s have asked us to leave, I think that the end of the whole thing is near and we’ll find out! I wonder if we’ll get to keep all of those military bases we have built over there?

But let’s dig deeper - the big reason we supported Saddam back in the day was to fight the Iranians, who were/are similarly resisting us. Oh and the Iranians don’t really like us since 1953 when we intervened with the best intentions, and the CIA engineered/supported the removal of the Mohammed Mossadegh from the presidency. Mossadegh was a communist and that was reason enough for us to want him removed. So we helped bring back the Shah. Rinse and repeat.

The circumstance that America may not be loved and admired internationally may have a great deal to with the frequently violent interventions that we’ve made in many countries, especially in the period since World War II. The fact that the American leaders sold most of these interventions to the American as altruistic does not necessarily make them so, and it may look even less altruistic to the people on the receiving end.

I don’t say that America should not intervene when it makes sense to do so, and when we can do so in a sensible way. Iraq just happens to be a textbook case for what not to do from start to finish. Going back for like 50 years.