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Religion and the 2004 Election

By Alan Abramowitz

There has been considerable speculation since last Tuesday that President Bush's victory in the presidential election was largely due to improved turnout and support for the president among strongly religious voters. This speculation has been reinforced by the finding in the national exit polls that 22 percent of voters cited "moral values" as the most important issue in the election and the adoption by overwhelming margins of constitutional amendments banning gay marriage in 11 states. But the evidence from the 2000 and 2004 national exit polls does not support this theory. First, there was almost no difference in reported frequency of church attendance between the voters in 2000 and the voters in 2004. Among voters in the 2000 election, 14 percent reported attending church services more than weekly, 28 percent reported attending every week, 14 percent reported attending a few times a month, 28 percent reported attending a few times a year, and 14 percent reported never attending services. Among voters in the 2004 election, 16 percent reported attending services more than weekly, 26 percent reported attending every week, 14 percent reported attending a few times a month, 28 percent reported attending a few times a year, and 15 percent reported never attending services. While the percentage attending more than weekly rose by 2 points, the percentage attending every week dropped by 2 points and the percentage never attending rose by 1 point.

More importantly, between 2000 and 2004, President Bush's largest gains occurred among less religious voters, not among more religious voters. Among those attending services more than weekly and those attending every week, support for Bush rose by 1 percent, from 63 percent in 2000 to 64 percent in 2004. However, among those attending services a few times a month, support for Bush rose by 4 points, from 46 percent to 50 percent, among those attending only a few times a year, support for Bush rose by 3 points, from 42 percent to 45 percent, and among those never attending services, support for Bush rose by 4 points, from 32 percent to 36 percent.

Bottom line: the President made gains across the board among voters, regardless of their degree of religious commitment but he made his largest gains among less religious voters.

Comments

But the question remains, were these voters attracted BECAUSE of Bush's "moral" or "religious" qualities (and believe me they deserve quotations) or was it Security as the Judis article indicates?

And why did the Seniors side with Bush, especially since so many seemed to hate the medicare bill?

So the group that Rove claimed to have spent the most time and effort to turn out----the 4 million white evangelical Christians who didn't "show up" in 2000----did not provide proportionally increased support for Bush in 2004? There was no increase in turnout rate among this demographic from 2000? Did Rove and Ralph Reed fail to increase the turnout of their principal targeted voter group? I don't believe it.

I don't have access to the data, but it looked to me like those gains among the non-religious were basically gains among the very rich. Looking at the income data, voters making above 100k made up 18% of the voting population, as opposed to 15% of the voting population in 2000, and went harder for Bush than in 2000 (58 to 41 vs 54 to 43 for Bush). It looks like that is a real increase, not just due to rising incomes (but I'd love to see real data on that.)

This pro-Bush swing among the 100k and up group is pretty different from the weekly plus church attenders, whose vote margin was basically unchanged (64 to 36 Bush).

My take is that high turnout means that those who are already very likely to turn out (churchgoers, the wealthy, the educated) were the most likely to increase their turnout by the highest absolute numbers -- but that the real story of this election (at least nationally) is taxes and the wealthy -- not necessarily gay marriage. Of course, state data may refute that claim -- but I can't get 2000 state exit polls to check!

There has to be a better way to analyze this than general national percentages. In the very red southeast Ohio, Rove bombarded the Christian airwaves with Bush homophibic ads. This went completely under the radar because only certain kinds of Christians listen those stations. It was the same in parts of Iowa from what I understand. This way Rove brought out rural voters to get him over the hump in OH and IA.

In places like OH, Bush was losing votes, he had to make them up somewhere and he got the evangelicals in the rural areas to turn out in larger numbers.

I think doing the comparative stats on a county by county basis in places like OH, IA and WI would yield better results. I don't think it is instructive to look at the national vote.

Another thing is that I did work among Catholics and I know for a fact, that many left of center, moderate and conservative Catholics who just about threw up at the mention of Bush, vote for him, because they perceived that the Democratic Party and Kerry were extreme on abortion. And I might add that over 3/4 of Catholics are pro-choice!

The other thing about your analysis is that it doesn't distinguish between Catholic and Protestant. Kerry lost the nationwide Catholic vote by 2% but again, that tells us nothing. He lost it big in Oh (55-44), FL (57-42), MD (57-42)!!!!, (VA 69-31). On the other hand, in the battle ground states, excepting OH and FL, Kerry won the Catholic vote in MI, PA, WI, MN, IA (53%) and was -1% in MO, which was ground zero in the communion controversy.

My explanation, w/o evidence I admint, is that the focus in OH was on jobs and guns and the values and Catholic issue was not met head on. In WI where the economy was not quite as bad, it was clear that Kerry had to pitch more than stopping outsourcing. So I think Kerry lost the OH Catholic vote, not because they are different, but because the religious values thing may not have been met head on there. As for FL, I think it is the Cuban vote and the natural hurricaine dynamic and that it is the south. MD was not a battleground state, but I think because the anti-Kerry Catholic charges were not met head on there, Catholics simply absorbed the lies they heard from the Catholic Right.

In the southwest, Kerry got 63% of the Catholic vote in New Mexico and 52% in Nevada. These are huge numbers in light of the attacks by the Catholic Right and the Bishops. He also got 45% of weekly Mass attendees, in NM it was about 53%. So Kerry did great on the whole with Catholics.

As for White evangelicals, I haven't checked the numbers, but I am willing to bet my VP spot on the 2008 Democratic ticket, that Kerry got his butt handed to him uniformly and I think that distorts the picture.

I'm not sure what the conclusion is to my ramble. I guess it is that the morals/values, religious factor was huge. I think a county by county analysis in rural areas may yield a better picture. I also think separating out Catholic v Protestant also yields a better picture.

And for me, the general moral of the story is that Kerry came within 30-50,000 votes of the Presidency. I think he did a great job. The 2004 result does not require tearing down anything, I think it requires adding to our coalition. I think Kerry has shown that he can reach the moderate Catholic vote when he addresses them directly and I think moderate Catholics are our Rovian 4 million. They are naturally left of center on social issues, they are pro-choice! anti-death penalty, anti-war, and they vote. Catholics, though 20% of the general population, were 27%!! of the electorate on Nov. 2.

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The Analysis of Rovain Tactics


By Jason Gooljar


In the book Bush's Brain by Moore & Slater, I have observed the following tactics that Karl Rove has used to his advantage.


1.

Attack, attack, and attack


Karl Rove believes in staying on the attack at all times. When you have to explain yourself it basically means that you have lost. Thus, you attack and make the other side stay on the defensive and have to deny or explain why they did something. Or make them deny a rumor. A way to counter this is to not directly answer the offensive but rather counter with an offensive of your own. An example could be the following.


Question from Reporter to Candidate:


Is it true while in college you experimented with illegal drugs?


Answer:


That question I find is irrelevant. When my opponent as Governor is responsible for the cutting of drug rehabilitation programs that would have helped millions in state X.

2.

The two pronged campaign attack structure


Karl Rove has designed the high road and low road campaign. The candidate can stay above the fray and run a “positive campaign”. One in which they talk about the issues and improving a state or country. The second prong of the attack comes from the surrogates who will get into the mud. When Bush ran against Ann Richards for Governor he employed this tactic. Vicious whisper campaigns were waged against Richards stating that she may be a lesbian. When it finally made it's way into the mainstream Richards got on the defensive which meant she was put in check. When she then tried to attack Bush he released a television commercial saying that Richards was going negative on him and that it was a sad day. Checkmate.


3.

Shaping policy according to trends.


While Bush hated that Clinton and Gore supposedly stuck a finger in the air to see which direction the wind was blowing. Rove sort of did something similar. When Bush did propose something such as the cutting of property taxes and funding of education through other means, Rove was known to crunch many polls and statistical data to see what could be the outcome. Also as Governor the policies that Bush got through sometimes were already in process. He would then get in on the action and sign a bill thus, making him look good. Monitoring trends throughout an area was essential for the shaping of policy. If a area is too liberal then maybe massive tax cuts and cutting of certain after school programs would not be the best move. A favorite site of Mr. Rove is portraitofamerica.com.


4.

Support must be there locally


When Karen Hughes went to New Hampshire for the primaries in 1999 she noticed that most of the volunteers were from out of state. Bush lost that primary to McCain and we saw something similar in 2003 in Iowa, with the Dean campaign when a lot of volunteers were from out of state. Therefore it is in my opinion in order for a campaign to do well in a state it must have a statewide local organization on the ground. Then the out of state volunteers can come in to complement the campaign.


5.

Reading between the lines


In a memo Karl Rove once wrote about policies that actually had alternative intentions than stated. Like advocating for pay raises of teachers was really about drawing the support of voters with children not the teacher's unions themselves. Another example would be advocating for the appointment of women not to reassure feminists but to draw in independent voters.


6.

Make the will of the big money donors the will of the people


It is interesting as with Cuba how the Bush administration never thought of invading Cuba and removing Fidel Castro why is that? Rove actually said that the Cubans should rise up and remove Castro internally. However what was the difference with Iraq? Well I'm sorry but Cuba does not have the oil Iraq has. Nor is Cuba a threat to an ally like Israel that Iraq is. So how do we make invading Iraq the will of the people? This was done simply by making Iraq the villain. We are good, they are bad. We love freedom, they do not. In the book they say that Osama was hiding and they could not get to him so Saddam was basically a substitute. Of course you all heard the rest of the drumbeat to war the weapons of mass destruction etc. Personally I think India or Pakistan could have been considered more dangerous than Iraq was back then by the way what's up with North Korea? Finally why bother yourself with Democratic values like social security, jobs and health care that the Democrats could run circles around you on. Just use the war card no one thinks of all those issues when we are at war with the war President.


7.

Destroy the future of the Democratic Party


In Texas Rove targeted the up and comers with vigor. We all know about the dirty tricks he employed. What's worse was the view of the Republican party was not to punish the person who carried out the dirty trick the goal was to contain the media exposure once that person is caught. What the GOP could not stand was disloyalty in reporting the dirty tricks. Rove will dig and dig and dig until he finds something on you. He even will go after people on the GOP side who threaten is power. Fellow strategists like himself have been victims not able to get work with candidates forcing them to switch to the Democratic party.

These are some of the things that Karl Rove has done. Should we adopt these Rovain policies to use for the progressive movement? Other than building local organizations of the party structure in the states and sometimes staying on the offensive, I say no, we do not need to stoop to this level we should however expose these tactics whenever possible. Which is why it is so important to support progressive media. Support Air America Radio and let's get a progressive TV station on the air!

Oh by the way while I don't like using the right wing terminology there is no "mandate". Fifty million plus people voted NO! Don't forget that we have to continue to organize those people.

In Ohio Bush received about 96% of the White Evangelistic
Vote. The Right Wing (White Evangelistic) group is a HUGE
voting group which heavily supports the Republican Agenda.

The Democratics, are going to have to find some way to
off set this group or find some way to appeal to them in
thier agenda.

One good possibility is to select candidates from the southern or mid-western areas who share there views.

It's not about being religious. It's about being bigots. However calling it "moral values" sounds much nicer.

A couple of questions for Ruy:
1) I've seen conflicting reports about the electoral behavior of Catholics. Were Catholic voters evenly divided or did they slightly favor Bush? I've been arguing that for all pratical purposes, there no longer is a "Catholic vote" because Catholic voting behavior typically is in line with the voting behavior of America as a whole. It's not 1940 or 50, when Catholics were primarily blue-collar sons and daughters of immigrants, clustered in big cities and industrial company towns. Catholics are a very diverse population today. An example: At my brother-in-law's country club, the club president, (a retired stock-broker,) and the greenskeeper, (a Mexican immigrant,) both belong to the same Catholic parish.
2) Was this the first presidential election in which the GOP did not win among college graduates?

It really doesn't matter if fewer or more evangelicals voted this time around. What matters is that Bush would NOT have won had they stayed at home. They didn't stay at home. They voted. And whether the conventional wisdom that they, alone, were the deciding factor last Tuesday holds or doesn't hold with the pundits, it WILL hold within their ranks. And they will demand palpable results this time, and this time they have a president who shares their point of view on key issues--according to most accounts.

So Bush will have no qualms about giving the evangelicals their reward--judicial nominees who will begin the process of striking down Roe v. Wade and rolling back gains made toward gay and lesbian civil rights. Evangelicals believe the Republican Party and the President are indebted to them, and W. had better deliver or risk losing this sizable and, in a close election, decisive edge they provide.

As David Brooks pointed out in today's NY Times, it was NOT an increase in even the proportion of religious voters that Bush got. He concluded that therefore the vote was a mandate for Bush's policies. Problem is, solid majorities felt that the country is moving in the wrong direction, and Bush is NOT a popular president. So what's the problem? Exactly what I've been saying -- Kerry let the Bush campaign generate unease about him as a candidate; and the chorus of hounds that didn't bark in the mass media and the Democratic Party on the flipflop spin and the Bai distortion, about which I have said much in particular, the two central nodes of the campaign against Kerry, guaranteed that those doubts would carry the day. The DLC Democrats are too interested in 'getting with the program'. They and the media are unwilling to challenge these agendae. Democrats need to be led specifically by those who WILL challenge the agenda instead of basically' reporting for duty', generating a whole lot of noise but not defending on the crucial fronts -- predictably letting the Republicans win.

Time after time I pointed out while everyone was spinning the polls optimistically that there was a machine agenda and that the Democrats and the media weren't challenging it. What happened is the natural result of all that tramoya (jury rigging of appearances). No one was willing to seriously consider those notions then, as it wasn't getting with the program, and they don't want to consider it now, for the same reason. Problem is, the program sucks and most Americans have had to be manipulated in 1988 and 2000 (being talked to like third graders throughout the latter, while the Gore campaign worried about earth tones). What's the point of a Democratic Party that isn't AUTHENTICALLY fighting to win? Voters were herded to DLC Democrat Kerry from Dean because it was said Kerry was the man to beat Bush. Then, when it came to the flipflop spin and being painted falsely as soft on terror, he AND the media sat on their hands. It was a scam. And as is always the case, when you are in charge of the party, and you totally screw up, you decide what the problem is and who can be heard from.
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Much is being said about the possibility (according to Laurence Tribe) of having Five voters in Ohio demand a recount. And at Tompaine.com it has been argued that Kerry won Ohio. Maybe the DLC Democrats could redeem themselves by at least putting up a fight, but you can bank on them rolling over just like they were obviously doing BEFORE the election

Ruy's comments and the other responses all assume that the data are legit. You no doubt know that the results in FL and OH are being increasingly questioned. And we just don't know how many voters were forced to walk away in those 2 states because of the long lines.

Thank you Mr. Abramowitz for hammering a few more nails into the coffin of the conventional wisdom that emerged immediately after the election.

I would add that there was probably little Kerry could have done in this election to win Florida, save perhaps running as a liberal hawk, which just wasn't in his political DNA.

The Democrats should be rehashing the question of Ohio though, because not only was it winnable this year, Democrats need to not repeat the same mistake they made there in order to be viable nationally.

What I'm talking about of course is winning back white, blue collar Reagan Democrats, who could with the right policies be persuaded to vote their economic rather than cultural interests.

We all the know the problem. It dates back at least to 1980, if not all the way to 1968. Between a Republican party who offers these voters noxious economic policies and cultural conservativism and a Democratic Party that offers them slightly less noxious (but still noxious) economic policies, and cultural liberalism, they tend to choose the former.

In Ohio, where 200,000 jobs (many of them in manufacturing) have been lost in the last four years, Kerry should have been able to make significant inroads into moderate white working class voters. But he didn't.

This is a demographic that is not easily fooled, and understood that on economic and trade questions there was really is little difference between John Kerry and George W Bush. Both were for "retraining." Both were for middle class tax cuts. And Kerry's plan to "stop rewarding companies for shipping jobs overseas" was incomprehensible to most and interpreted as little more than a gesture (which it was.)

In fact the only candidate with a realistic and substantive plan for addressing the problem of outsourcing was Joe Lieberman, who not only campaigned on the issue of Asian currency manipulation, but introduced legislation in the senate last year to punish the practice.

Now is not really the place to consider the full history of Japanese and now Chinese and Indian currency manipulation, and the incredibly destructive effect it has had upon American manufacturing and textiles in the past 30+ years (after the collapse of Bretton Woods) but no single act by the federal government would do more to level the playing field between American and Asian manufacturers, and genuinely open markets in Asia to American goods.

Unlike most of the populist blather out there about outsourcing, ending Asian currency manipulation has tremendous potential for protecting and creating many, many thousands of jobs in this country - and not just in manufacturing and textiles.

Its not exactly bumper sticker material, but its not so hard to understand that the importance of addressing this problem can't be clearly and succinctly communicated to voters. Its a shame that the Kerry campaign didn't try.

When you add up Alan's church-goer percentages, it seems to me that they are not so insignificant. But people do lie about their church attendance, so that may render these figures less than useful.

As an occasional, OK, rare church-attender, I've noticed something more frequent attenders may have overlooked: Conservative preachers talk a lot about Jesus, but they don't quote him much. I suspect this is because Jesus had zilch to say about guns, gays or abortion. But he had a lot to say about peace, forgiveness, religious hypocracy, poverty, inclusiveness and sharing. The evangelicals need to be called on this more often by our candidates and campaigns.

Yet, Alan is quite right that we can't blame it all on the evangelical GOTV. Bush did substantially increase his piece of the African American vote, from 9 percent in 2K to 11 percent in 2K4, according to the exit polls published by CNN. The La Times exit polls found an even bigger increase, to 14%, which is a 55%+ increase in Bush's take of the Black vote. I saw one reference to 16% in Ohio, but couldn't find the source.

Bush also got a significant increase among the high-turnout seniors. My hunch is that a good many of them were turned off by the Mary Cheney stuff and Teresa's lame remark about Laura Bush. I think that may have hurt us with more than a few on-the-fence mothers, as well.

And what about that huge Bush take of Latinos?

Seems to me we need a task force of the Party's best thinkers and organizers to work on each of these constituencies, and come up with a credible battle plan for the '06 congressional elections.

When I read comments like these, I become afraid that Democrats are going to become a permanent minority. Trying to find some technical "fix" to the problems of this election are like the French building the Maginot line to fight the last war.

If there was a lesson from this election it's that technological fixes GOTV, increasing turnout, etc. aren't the answer. It's the "vision thing". Unless the Democrats can convince lower income voters that we stand for something more than "fiscal restraint" or leaving social security alone or anti whatever Bush is doing, the Republicans will get to finish turning this country back to the glory days of the Hoover administration.

There's more spin going on than a top: The actual numbers weren't really so bad, Bush didn't really turn out that many more evangelicals, religion wasn't what doomed Kerry, it never really was winnable for other reasons, etc.

All of these arguments are rationalizations which only obscure the blindingly clear reality. The Democratic party has become bankrupt of ideas. That's why we lost.

Because we didn't offer working people in this country any reason to vote for Kerry. "Anybody-But-Bush" wasn't nearly enough.

Please stop all the happy-talk and spin. Unless major reforms are made in the party it will be much worse in 2006-08. I'm no fan of Nader, but he's right on this: unless the Democratic party can compete in the South, the Republicans "will roll them right into the Pacific ocean." They'll organize a total monopoly all the way down to the municipal level in every red state. And they'll appoint judges who will support every effort to subvert Democracy.

We have a tremendous opportunity over the next 4 years to stand for something meaningful. Remember that next time, the Republican candidate DOESN'T HAVE to run as Bush did. He could have run as a "compassionate conservative" instead of a scorched earth campaign and won 55% of the vote. So, technical fixes aimed at picking up a few constituencies here or there won't work.

I agree with the comments by Ono that we need to look at state by state composition of the electorate and compare what changed between 2000 and 2004. If you look here you will see that regular churchgoers were a SMALLER PORTION OF THE ELECTORATE in 2004 than 2000 in Ohio. The link below shows the exit polls for Ohio for 2000

http://www.msnbc.com/m/d2k/g/polls.asp?office=P&state=OH

you can compare this with the exit poll information available from MSNBC for 2004. This leaves me with the belief that what happened last Tuesday was not that more churchgoing people showed up at the polls, but that people who showed up at the polls were more likely to vote for Bush for a variety of reasons.

We also should be skeptical about the link between regular church attendance and propensity to vote based on "moral values. "

One thing to keep in mind with all the buzz about "moral values" being the issue that determined the election, in Ohio there were twice as many people who attend church at least once a week as there were people who ranked "moral values" as the primary issue deciding their vote.

This means that at least half of regular church attenders did not vote based on "moral values." It would be interesting to get a breakdown of what issues regular church goers did vote on and also the characteristics of those voting based on "morality" What proportion are regular churchgoers, African Americans etc.

Does anyone know a database of exit polling information that would allow me to search on the other characteristics of the "moral values" voters?

Much of the discussion in this forum I would describe as paralysis analysis. Given the consumer driven landscape that is the U.S.A. and, the focus of this site(polling) marketing principles are the underlying basis of these discussions; i.e., if branding, message, church goers, gay vs. others, fundemendalist, gun owners, regional/rural/urban divides and the ethnic/color/race quairmire are properly balanced we win. Indeed these matters are in the mix and need be fine tuned based on issues of the day, regional needs(farmers are not intrested in subway construction), local interest(small towns need freeway ramps and sewer systems as do urban areas), GOTV, etc. Finally, it is strongly asserted that polls can track these confounding variables and provide meaningful results with appropriate weighting of historical comparative data and other data. Well! Maybe NOT! Much of this approach attempts to deconstruct the complex to arrive at the simple; I believe that finding the realtionhsip of the parts to each is more fruitful. Point being political polling does have limitations and is not the same as research on SUV buyers, actual or potential.

Problem? Much of the discussion is based on the assumption that all voter segments have gotten attention sufficient to counter balance the opposition base voters. Thus, my view being based on the notion of paralysis analysis which is to assert that the discussion does not encompass the large voting segments that have been long overlooked, primarly rural and semi-rural voters. I would assert this is more significant than all other current day favorites of the conventional wisdom crowds; simply the Democratic party organizational and institutionally does not have the contact with these voters as in the past.

Finally, explanations on 11/02/04 exit polling is troubling as no explanation I have heard makes sense, and these rationals are on today's spin circuit. I express my concerns via a question: among so-called "early or premature" state and local exit polls who were consistent with the final exit polls that were weighted to reflect the vote totals? In other words how consistent are the slices of the day with the whole of the day with the only variable being Bush or Kerry? In short this may offer explanations that make more sense and cure some of the likly debates on the accuracy and effects of these exit polls. Problem? The curent discussion on exit polls offers too much confusion.

THis is some good stuff, but ya'll gotta check out the stuff coming from Amendment Nine. Breathtaking. The last post, Our Way of Life, really hits on a lot of points that this post, and others like it, keep touching on, but never fulfill. http://amendmentnine.blogspot.com

There are some mis-statements in this post. No-one is speculating that higher turn-out among highly religious people was a significant factor, but by voters mobilized by "moral issues". In my opinion, Bush appeared more moral to less dedicated church goers because he presented himself as a more dedicated to their value system than they are. In other words, there are a large number of moderate voters who live somewhat outside of traditional church values and feel guilty about it, perceiving Bush as a dedicated Christian protecting a value system that they have abandoned to some extent. This voter could be moderate on gay marriage and abortion but paradoxically feel that this is a morally compromised position.

I agree with a previous poster, that the key to this demographic is to target their assumptions about apparent religiousity and morality. It should be easy to hammer on the theme of "Hate is not a Christian value," since no opposing candidate would ever disagree. In addition, moderate church goers with shallower ties to their ministers would be more likely to vote against their ministers' views, especially if they could preserve their own sense of Christian morality in the process.

As it is now, progressive values are interpreted as anti-Christian values, and that's hurting us even with non-religious people who perceive Christianity as holding the moral high ground.

Moral values MEANS moral values ...that is indisputable and the result cannot be explained away by igoring it.


The problem with Dr. Abramowitz's analysis is that he confuses religious church attendance with the Culture War Voter....You do not have to attend church AT ALL to agree with the religious agenda.

So the analytical confusion arises from the unquestioning acceptance of a poor dependent variable definition

What Bush did essetially, and Ruy has said as much, is expand the values definiition to include the War on Terror with a link to the War on IraQ..


In a word, he made his Wars and his Kultur Kamp one in the same populist hot button MORAL VALUES issue.

It makes me laugh to think that evangelicals are equated with the "action" of CHURCH ATTENDANCE!
My sister has not attended church in 40 yrs. (she is 60) She sends me the most "prayerful" emails. Don't you know about internet CONVERSIONS? has nothing to do with going to church. in THe Southland called GEORGIA. I am inundated with women sending me "outreach" emails everyday. few if any of them attend church on any regular basis. It's a cultural anomoly.
sad commentary.
kr, Chula, Ga

I think that if you punch through all of the evangelical programs early Sunday mornings either on television or cable and listen to the sermons these folks have been hearing for the past year, you'll hear the call to the faithful that probably never attend any church. And they voted against gays, expect an anti-abortion amendment and feel they gave Bush his mandate and expect something in return. This may be the begining of the fractures in the Republican party that promised so much to so many that they will never be able to deliver.

I can't believe how Ono and other observers can say Kerry did a good job. He was running against a president with low approval ratings, a dismal record driving those ratings and a solid majority of the country feeling it was going in the wrong direction.

As I have said OVER AND OVER AND OVER with no response to the elephant in the room (see previous postings on this subject at length) Kerry AND the media systematically refrained from refuting the flipflop spin before it solidified into a national cliche, when both could have easily, including supposed liberals and Democrats in the press who were too busy justifying the lying. Jonathan Chait described in detail in the New Republic Oct 18 what a crock it was, and there were others, basically AFTER the Repub convention, but nothing new by way of info had come forward since May.
Matt Bai also distorted Kerry's position on terrorism painting him as less willing to confront Al Qaeda militarily, which formed the basis of the press and Republican campaigns against him for the last three weeks (until the Osama video). In that instance the notion that Osama might have been trying to help Bush's victory at the polls was unmentionable, even though the opposite was asserted all over the place, with Zero evidence.
All in all it was a LOUSY job, with both the Democrats and the press cringing before the agenda of justifying the lying, in an election the Democrats should have won by a landslide, and would have, in a system that wasn't like Nero-at-the-Olympics, as I have been pointing out on this site since Sept.

As a Christian, it is difficult to find any affirmative comfort in the outpouring of support among my brethren for the reelection of George W. Bush.

Regardless of the background or beliefs of those who voted for Bush based on "moral values," the fact remains that their votes are simply the public expression of privately-held opinion. Acknowledging this leads to remembering that it was the crowd at the scene of Christ's crucifixion that voted for God incarnate to be sacrificed on the cross and a criminal set free.

The crowd that crucified Jesus that day simply did the same as the electorate this past Election Day: they voted their will, evidently based upon their conscience, and reached a collective conclusion. That it was presumably based on religious underpinnings was not enough to overcome what we as Christians take as a basic tenet: that man is fallible, to the extent that we would vote to crucify the only perfect being to walk on the earth, as evidenced by the content of our bibles.

The point here is not, by any means, to equate the defeat of John Kerry with the crucifixion of Christ. Instead, it is to point out the nature of man, as described by the very beliefs that so many Christians carried with them into the voting booth on November 2.

It is to point out the dangers of religious arrogance, to the extent that man may come to believe he knows what God is saying, when, in actuality, he may be putting words in God’s mouth rather than listening to what God is actually saying. It happened to the Pharisees, and it can happen to us.

Blame should not necessarily be ascribed to those grass-roots Christians who feel the Republican Party speaks their language while the Democratic Party does not. As an activist within the Democratic Party, it seems apparent that we have ourselves largely to blame in losing this portion of the electorate.

Rather than fighting back against Republican presumptiveness that asserts the GOP is the party of God, we have acquiesced on the issue. We have failed to fight back as active participants in the moral war in which Republicans and Christians have proudly proclaimed we are engaged.

The Democratic Party strives to be one of inclusiveness. As such, we support abortion and homosexual rights. But we do so not simply because of a desire to appease extremist members with such beliefs. We do so as a result of moral underpinnings, including those rooted in the bible, that lead us to such conclusions.

But we have failed to make that clear. We have presented our conclusions without providing the examination, scrutiny and application of moral values leading to them. As a result, we have allowed ourselves to be portrayed as godless, licentious, and whatever other descriptions the Republican Party has chosen to throw our way.

For too long, the Democratic Party has allowed ourselves to remain mute for fear of offending those within our party who hold differing views. We abstain from speaking of religion so as not to offend the atheists among us. We do not have in-depth, heart-wrenching and soul-baring discussions on moral issues because we do not want to be offensive. We do not explore the abortion rights issues in deference to the feminists; we do not flesh out the gay rights question in deference to our gay members.

What we do, instead, by internally remaining silent on these issues, is to allow external forces to define us, rather than defining ourselves. There is as much of a "moral base" within the Democratic Party as in the Republican. Whereas they wear it on their sleeve, however, we keep ours hidden.

We profess inclusiveness and openness but do not fully practice it. Although our motives are honest and stem from a desire to not offend members of our party, it is easily portrayed by our opponents to be pandering to our base and being ruled by special interests.

The common response of many Democrats to November 2 has been to increase our levels of ire and anger at the Republicans, blaming them for our defeat. A more reasoned response would be to look at our own actions with the hopes of understanding why we have failed to attract support from the Christian community.

Instead of hurling invectives, we in the Democratic Party must extend our inclusiveness to Christians and their concerns, to show that we also speak “their language.”

I am not sure enough people realize the magnitude of the danger that the Evangelist Christian agenda poses for this planet and humanity.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the religious fanatacism of Evangelist Christians has undermined our democracy, inflitrated our political process, and now threatens to take over not only our government, but the entire world. Make no mistake about it, the agenda of Evangelism is no less fanatic or far-reaching that the Islamic religion.

I don't think enough people realize that the Evangelists consider the war on terrorism a "Holy" war as much as the arab radicals that want Jihad. Unfortunately, the terrible tragedy is that they have been able to take over the Republican party and they have people who aren't even Christians brainwashed into thinking that Bush's war on terrorism is the only way to guarantee our safety. The terrible tragedy is that in aligning himself with Evangelists, it is clear that he is aligning himself with people who believe EVERY WORD in the Bible, who believe that the world is in it's last days and who LOOK FORWARD to ARMAGGEDON!

All people everywhere no matter what their religious or non-religious beliefs need to stand up to this mass insanity that is moving us all to mass suicide!

Although my understanding of God and existence is in the broadest metaphysical sense, and I personally consider myself a Christian, it is of paramount importance, especially for other Christians who believe that Jesus' only message was love to point out the contrast in the beliefs of non-Evangelist Christians and Evangelism.

CNN has an excellent program about the growing opposition inChristian churches to the Evangelist viewpoint. They interviewed Reverent Barry Lynn, who is heading the organization for the Separation of Church and State.

I do not believe that Jesus would approve of the Evangelist's agenda. His only, true message was love. Obviously, hatred, prejudice and violence certainly to not go along with loving one's neighbors and enemies. The whole history of Christianity shows that rigid, dogmatic belief in literal translation of religious doctrines leads to political tyranny, social unheavals and war.

Most people in this modern age realize that people of all religions get their prayers answered, experience healings and miracles. Even those who do not believe in a God with a name have experienced healings and profound life changes through vizualization, affirmations and understanding of the unlimited power of the subconscious mind--a component of the consciousness of everything that lives.

There are many other names for God in addition to Jesus, even in the Christian bible--"Yewah," and "I am that I am," are two.

Physicists and cosmologists have discovered through the field of quantum mechanics that everything in the universe is connected. We are on the verge of beginning to understand the connection between the physical and non-physical worlds through scientific verification. If everything is connected it would mean that the passage at the beginning of the book of John in the Bible is true: "God created everything that exists. Nothing exists that He did not create." It would also mean that some of the most profound teachings of the world's oldest religions is true -- everything is one. It everything is one, and God is Love, it would mean that everything is actually LOVE. People who meditate or who practice deep and continual prayer know that the dichotomies of Love--Hate, Right--Wrong, Good-Evil, Heaven--Hell, lose meaning and dissolve in the all-encompassing truth that sets us free.

It would mean that what Jesus was teaching, that "The Kingdom of Heaven is Within," is true and that we make our own heaven and hell by our beliefs. If you harbor hatred or belief in violence, death and war, this is the world you will find yourself experiencing.

I do not believe that Jesus would approve of the teaching of Evangelists today. In fact, he would be the most vocal opponent.

Martin Luther, during the period of the Reformation in religious history founded the Luthern church to break away from the rigid, dogmatic teachings of the Catholic church, which was based on the idea that God predetermined human history. On the contrary, Luther believed that perhaps the most important gift given to us by God was FREE WILL. Free will means we have the ability to choose our destiny. A loving God would no longer want us to blow up the planet in ARMAGGEDON, than He would approve of Jim Jones convincing his followers in Guana to take poison in mass suicide.

I am urgently calling on all who understand this extremely important message to spread it to others and to help organize everyone world wide, within the Democratic party and any other groups to stand up and speak out against our own mass slaughter.