Where did this history leave evangelicals’ political involvement?
For a start, modern evangelicalism has an important intellectual piece missing. It lacks a model or ideal of political engagement—an organizing theory of social action. Over the same century from Blanchard to Falwell, Catholics developed a coherent, comprehensive tradition of social and political reflection. Catholic social thought includes a commitment to solidarity, whereby justice in a society is measured by the treatment of its weakest and most vulnerable members. And it incorporates the principle of subsidiarity—the idea that human needs are best met by small and local institutions (though higher-order institutions have a moral responsibility to intervene when local ones fail).
In practice, this acts as an “if, then” requirement for Catholics, splendidly complicating their politics: If you want to call yourself pro-life on abortion, then you have to oppose the dehumanization of migrants. If you criticize the devaluation of life by euthanasia, then you must criticize the devaluation of life by racism. If you want to be regarded as pro-family, then you have to support access to health care. And vice versa. The doctrinal whole requires a broad, consistent view of justice, which—when it is faithfully applied—cuts across the categories and clichés of American politics. Of course, American Catholics routinely ignore Catholic social thought. But at least they have it. Evangelicals lack a similar tradition of their own to disregard.
The Moral Majority appeared at about the same time that the actual majority was more and more comfortable with divorce and couples living together out of wedlock. Evangelicals experienced the power of growing numbers and healthy subcultural institutions even as elite institutions—from universities to courts to Hollywood—were decisively rejecting traditional ideals.
As a result, the primary evangelical political narrative is adversarial, an angry tale about the aggression of evangelicalism’s cultural rivals. In a remarkably free country, many evangelicals view their rights as fragile, their institutions as threatened, and their dignity as assailed. The single largest religious demographic in the United States—representing about half the Republican political coalition—sees itself as a besieged and disrespected minority. In this way, evangelicals have become simultaneously more engaged and more alienated.
He was speaking to a cheering crowd on the last day of the primary season, after receiving the support of enough delegates to clinch the nomination.
I…don’t entirely understand the US system of voting – all I know for sure is that it seems to take a heck of a long time for them to just pick a candidate to run in the election. I don’t think I could get excited about something that too so long to get done with – even if I was a US citizen!
As someone who lives in a totally different country (although it could be argued that at times, the UK is the 51st state), I…care even less now, even if whoever is eventually (like, in a billion years time) elected as the next president will have a fairly large impact on world affairs. Perhaps it’s election fatigue.
And how much does the nominated candidate actually represent the views of the population? It feels like individuals vote for some guy who votes for someone else who votes for someone else who votes for someone else who will pick who THEY want to be presidential candidate for them. Is that really how it works? Can anyone shed any light on how it works?
And then there’s the question of who’s going to be the vice-presidential candidate?
I guess it’s just a case of wait and see.