February 13, 2005

LAST BLUE BASTION:

Why don't area evangelicals have more power? (Cathleen Falsani, 2/13/05, Chicago Sun-Times)

Despite the role evangelicals played in swaying the 2004 presidential election, evangelicals in the Chicago area are not a political force to be reckoned with -- yet.

That will soon change if Andy McKenna, newly elected chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, has anything to do with it.

"Hopefully, four years from now, there'll be more to tell," in Illinois, McKenna said.

McKenna said the Illinois GOP needs to do more to reach the evangelical community, among others, and looks to the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign as an example of how to tap into its influence.

While he was campaigning unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate last year, McKenna, who is Roman Catholic, said he actively reached out to evangelicals in the Chicago area and statewide.

"I found it to be important in our efforts," he said. "I was impressed by their interest in candidates and their willingness to provide candidates the opportunity to have access to their communities."

So why aren't Chicago area evangelicals more closely involved with the Republican Party, as evangelical leaders are in other parts of the country?

"I think two things happened at once. It seems to me that, within the last 15 to 20 years, the evangelical community became more political and more organized," McKenna said. "And it was precisely in that time period that we, as a party, weren't investing in grass-roots activities. And so we missed, I think, because of that."


George Bush, Karl Rove,m Ralph Reed and company have given state parties a template that should be fairly easy to follow everywhere.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 13, 2005 10:07 AM
Comments

I don't know much about Illinois but there are virtually no evangelicals in the NYC Metro area to build a party with. There is some vestigial mainline Protestant population but were it not for the Korean and other immigrant groups, mainline Protestantism here would be a few old ladies attending old churches on the verge of being condemned.

Posted by: Bart at February 13, 2005 12:38 PM

Bart:

Never been to Harlem on a Sunday morning, huh?

Posted by: oj at February 13, 2005 2:06 PM

Syncretic forms of religion that mostly whine on about what 'Whitey owes us' don't really count as evangelical Protestantism. They have far more to do with Harry Edwards than Jonathan Edwards.

When you see real Evangelical Protestantism in the NY Metro area, it is usually conducted in Spanish or in some Asian language.

Posted by: Bart at February 13, 2005 2:55 PM

So, no, you've never been to services.

Posted by: oj at February 13, 2005 3:50 PM

Bart:

There are at least 3 dozen conservative Presbyterian and/or otherwise reformed serivces in NYC alone. Sure, that probably only means about 4000-5000-6000 people each week, but these are the fastest growing Protestant denominations in the country (and are quite separate from the 'mainline' denomintations, thank you).

In Atlanta, each Sunday there are probably 30,000 people worshiping in just the Presbyterian churches alone.

In Philadelphia, probably 10,000 or more.

These people have children, lots of them.

And we aren't even talking Baptists yet.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 13, 2005 4:26 PM

OJ,

In NYC, you can't get away from Black ministers with their hands out. Butts, Sharpton, Daughtry, Flake and countless others. No I've never been to services in Harlem, but my hygiene fetish would never allow me to.

You may live in some fantasy world where the vast majority of the American Black population, as distinguished from Black immigrant populations from Africa and the Islands, wants to be weaned off the welfare state. In the real world, it is abundantly clear that the desires of this particular segment of the underclass were perfectly defined by Earl Butz 30 years ago, as crime, welfare, illegitimacy, drug use, unemployment, etc rates all prove conclusively. And you are surprised these people are 95% Democrat?

Trying to get that under 80% any time soon is a fool's errand.

Posted by: Bart at February 13, 2005 5:52 PM

Jim,

How many of those have English-language services? In Bergen County, every SBC church is in Spanish or an Asian language exclusively.

And in a city of 8 million people, 6000 is negligble. There are more practicing Satanists.

Posted by: Bart at February 13, 2005 5:54 PM

Bart:

A racism, particularly the old Nazi line of hygeine, always adds to a conversation. You aren't fit to wipe those people's butts.

Posted by: oj at February 13, 2005 6:03 PM
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