Monday, May 19, 2008

Ohio as a Bellwether on Religion and Poitics?

A Blogging Faith post leads to this article in Religious Dispatches by one Robert Jones -- among other things a Center for Amercan Progress guy. Jones' piece heavily overclaims whatever shift in faith and voting may have happened in Ohio. The story starts contrasting the "fortunes" of We Believe Ohio on the left and Bruce Johnson on the right. From there the author notes the result of the 2006 gubernatorial election, then draws broader points about the supposed crack up of the religious right and ascendancy of religious progressives. Here's a sample:

    In the meantime, Ohio Christians clearly voiced their preference for a candidate that shared all their values rather than a candidate running on a narrow divisive platform of opposing abortion and same-sex marriage. Blackwell was handily defeated by Ted Strickland, a Methodist minister who stumped as a “Golden Rule Democrat” and who, as a senator, insisted on paying for his own health coverage as long as his constituents were not covered. According to the 2006 NEP exit polls, Strickland gained fourteen points among voters who attended religious services once per week or more, compared to support these voters gave Senator John Kerry in 2004. And voters, including a majority (fifty-one percent) of weekly church attenders, overwhelmingly supported a long-overdue ballot measure to increase the minimum wage.

If this is our evidence that the tide has turned, I'm not moving down the beach just yet. Of course we can start with the elementary mistake -- Strickland was a Representative, not a Congressman.

More broadly, We Believe has a long way to go before it is anything more than liberal clergy talking to each other. They currently aren't a convenient bus ride from the stadium Rod Parsley et al play in.

And of course, one cycle does not a trend make. I'd love to believe that we just need to keep doing what we are doing and we never have to worry about intolerant ranters like Parsley again.
While not his intention, Jones in fact shows now much work we have to do.


Anonymous said...

Strickland was a Representative, not a Congressman

Make that "not a Senator", not Congressman, "a member of a congress, esp. of the U.S. House of Representatives."

I've started paying attention to the religious left, given their activism with NCLB reauthorization. I've got a question. From the UU, UCC, NCC etc perspective, do current school district boundaries advance legitimate expectations of persons in once-preferred groups or do the boundaries perpetuate “the effects of past discrimination?”