February 6, 2008


Liberals should respect nation's new evangelicals (Nicholas D. Kristof, 2/06/08, NY Times)

At a New York or Los Angeles cocktail party, few would dare make a pejorative comment about Barack Obama's race or Hillary Clinton's sex. Yet it would be easy to get away with deriding Mike Huckabee's religious faith.

Liberals believe deeply in tolerance and over the past century have led the battles against prejudices of all kinds, but we have a blind spot about Christian evangelicals. They constitute one of the few minorities that, on the American coasts or university campuses, it remains fashionable to mock.

...after all, the rest of America loathes the urban, secular, Darwinist, intellectuals. The symptoms he's describing though are why the neocons biffed so badly on Rudy and Mitt and failed to comprehend the appeal of W in '00 and Maverick and the Huck in '08.

Exit Polling Data Confirms Republicans Nationwide Strongly Pro-Life on Abortion (Steven Ertelt, February 5, 2008, LifeNews.com))

More than three-fourths of all Republicans in Missouri (74-23 percent), Tennessee (75-22), Alabama (76-20), Oklahoma (76-22) and Arkansas (81-18) say they want all or most abortions illegal and take a pro-life position

No more than 20-25 percent of GOP voters in those southern states support abortion and less than 10 percent in many of the states want all abortions to remain legal.

Voters in Georgia join their southern counterparts in taking a pro-life position by a 64 to 33 percentage point margin and prior exit polls South Carolina and Florida show a 71-28 percent and 54-44 percent pro-life split respectively.

While pro-life advocates are historically strong in the South, they're also well-represented in the Midwest. Previous polls showed about 75 percent of Iowa GOP voters are pro-life and their Republican neighbors in Illinois are as well.

Some 64 percent of Republicans in Illinois said they want all or most abortions illegal while just 33 percent want all or most to remain legal.

Western state Republicans also want abortions made illegal by a majority margin, including in California.

Golden State Republicans take a pro-life position by a 54 to 42 percentage point margin.

In Arizona, 58 percent of Republicans take a pro-life position compared to just 37 percent who don't while Utah Republicans were even more strongly pro-life with a 85-13 percentage point split.

Why Don’t Jews Like the Christians Who Like Them?: Liberalism can’t abide conservative evangelicals. (James Q. Wilson, Winter 2008, City Journal)
In the United States, the two groups that most ardently support Israel are Jews and evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. Jewish support is easy to explain, but why should certain Christians, most of them politically quite conservative, be so devoted to Israel? There is a second puzzle: despite their support for a Jewish state, evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are disliked by many Jews. And a third: a large fraction of African-Americans are hostile to Israel and critical of Jews, yet Jewish voters regard blacks as their natural allies.

The evidence about evangelical attitudes is clear. In 2006, a Pew survey found that evangelical Christians were more favorable toward Israel than the average American was—and much more sympathetic than either mainline Protestants or secularists. In another survey, evangelical Christians proved much likelier than Catholics, Protestants, or secular types to back Israeli control of Jerusalem, endorse Israeli settlements on the West Bank, and take Israel’s side in a Middle Eastern dispute. (Among every religious group, those who are most traditional are most supportive of Israel. The most orthodox Catholics and Protestants, for instance, support Israel more than their modernist colleagues do.)

Evangelical Christians have a high opinion not just of the Jewish state but of Jews as people. That Jewish voters are overwhelmingly liberal doesn’t seem to bother evangelicals, despite their own conservative politics. Yet Jews don’t return the favor: in one Pew survey, 42 percent of Jewish respondents expressed hostility to evangelicals and fundamentalists. As two scholars from Baruch College have shown, a much smaller fraction—about 16 percent—of the American public has similarly antagonistic feelings toward Christian fundamentalists.

The reason that conservative Christians—opposed to abortion and gay marriage and critical of political liberalism—can feel kindly toward Jewish liberals and support Israel so fervently is rooted in theology.

Theology is, likewise, the reason why American Jews (largely secular) hate the Evangelicals, whose faith is a standing rebuke to them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 6, 2008 11:32 AM

Well, there's a theological asymmetry there as well. The Evangelical believes that Judiasm is true (so far as it goes); the Jew believes that Christanity is false.

Posted by: Mike Earl at February 6, 2008 2:29 PM

Mike: I thought you were going to say that Evangelicals believe that Judaism is true and most secular Jews disagree.

Posted by: Ibid at February 6, 2008 3:29 PM

I think that this may have more to do with religious devotion - many of the secular Jews have a great dislike of the orthodox Jews as well. IIRC many orthodox Jews think positively of Evangelicals.

Posted by: Sylvia at February 6, 2008 8:40 PM

I think that this may be more a matter of disparaging religious devotion. Many of the secular Jews dislike the orthodox Jews as well. IIRC, the orthodox Jews think well of the evangelicals.

Posted by: Sylvia at February 6, 2008 8:43 PM


Ha! Well, that too...

Posted by: Mike Earl at February 6, 2008 11:37 PM

To be sure, one of the charms of this blog is its utter simplicity....

Where were we? Ah yes, theology.... a theology that regards Judaism as, um, "mistaken," perhaps? (But then we all know that Jews are "a stiff-necked people"....). Or perhaps, Christians (can one generalize?) don't believe that Judaism is "mistaken." Or perhaps some do and some don't (so which is it, after all?---Should it even matter?)

Or perhaps some other reasons enter into the equation.

Jews (can one generalize?), at least some of them, at least for some things, do harbor, for better or worse, longish memories.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at February 7, 2008 6:53 AM

Yet, Barry, American Jews don't seem to have that much of a problem with those who associate with the likes of Louis Farakan, who views Jews (among others) as subhuman. Sometimes the "utter simplicity" of a theory is its strength. Occam's Razor and all that.

Posted by: BrianOfAtlanta at February 7, 2008 11:00 AM

Jews were mistaken in not recognizing the Messiah, but were already Chosen so they didn't need Him. He brought Judaism to the gentiles.

That the gentiles are now better Jews than most Jews is ample reason for the hatred.

Posted by: oj at February 7, 2008 5:15 PM

"That the gentiles are now better Jews than most Jews is ample reason for the hatred."

Them's fighting words.

Posted by: erp at February 7, 2008 10:51 PM