A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Study Shows GOP & SBC Marriage Consummated

A recent study conducted in April by Lifeway Research found that a whopping 80% of Southern Baptist pastors plan to cast their vote for Republican nominee John McCain in November!

1% of Southern Baptist pastors prefer Obama


O%, yes ZERO percent, of Southern Baptist pastors support Hillary.

Back in 1998 during an interview with the New York Times, Richard Land - perhaps the most visible Southern Baptist leader over the past 20 years - said this about the relationship between the Religious Right and the Republican Party:
“No more engagement. We want a wedding ring, we want a ceremony, we want a consummation of the marriage.”
10 years later, it's clear that Dick got what he so desperately desired.

Lifeway Research has clearly revealed that the marriage has been consummated.

The Wedding Bells Done Rung. The Honeymoon is Over.

Apparently not many Southern Baptist pastors remember the wise words of the late Carl F. Henry, a hero to men like Al Mohler, who often declared that there exists "no direct route from the Bible to the Ballot Box."



Blogger Bart Barber said...


Don't you think that a better post would at least acknowledge the historical ties between the SBC and the Democrat Party? The Southern Baptist Convention belonged lock, stock, and barrel to the Democrats from 1845 to at least 1960 (with the sole exception of the Al Smith campaign), and I think for at least another decade beyond that.

Don't you also think that a better post would make mention of the dramatic platform changes that Democrats have made in the past forty years? Why did the SBC "switch parties"? Fickleness? Because families that have been Republican for generations somehow came into power in the SBC? I think you'll find a significant number of SBC folks who (like me) are FORMER Democrats.

I think the most helpful analysis that you might perform would wrangle with the causes of the SBC's divorce with the Democrats as a starting place for determining why (to use your marital analogy, not mine) the SBC is now in the arms of another woman.

I think that history will show that the SBC followed neither Democrats nor Republicans, but that in order to remain faithful to its first love, it could not follow the Democrats where they wished to go.

7:54 AM

Blogger shadrach said...

Wow, if I only loved my wife 80%, she'd probably be pretty ticked most of the time. I hope you plan on loving your wife better than that.

Perhaps the marriage metaphor wasn't the best. And perhaps, as Bart suggested, the Democrats are more at fault in this political alignment than it is that the SBs are looking for a political alignment (with notable exceptions like Land).

Let us know when you're back to 90% and God speed your recovery.

11:48 AM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

I'm not sure how appropriate it is to compare the voting behavior of Baptists in the 19th century to those in the 21st. Two different worlds - so much has changed. Interesting that you point to Al Smith - a Presidential candidate that Southern Baptist leaders despised because of his Catholic faith and his anti-Prohibitionist position. However, it's worth noting that Smith carried Arkansas by 20 points, Louisiana (by 52.6 points), Mississippi (64 points), Alabama (3 points), Georgia (12 points) and South Carolina (83 points). I think it's safe to say that Southern Baptists did vote for Al Smith at a much higher rate than some historians are willing to acknowledge.

That's a side point. But in any conversation about Southern Realignment, we have to talk about race. Brown v. Board, desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement had everything to do with Southern Baptists (who historically have long been held captive to Southern Culture) bolt from the Democratic Party to the GOP. When the Democratic Party changed, unfortunately the racial attitudes of most Southern Baptists did not.

And by "dramatic platform changes" - what issues do you speak of? Racial Equality? Gender Equality? Defending the First Amendment? Those issues were indeed dramatic. The Democratic Party's decision to support the outcome of Roe v. Wade was just icing on the cake. Southern conservatives already had a plethora of reasons to bolt for the GOP - and those reasons had little if anything to do with abortion. And as quite a few historians (and Paul Weyrich has conceded) have noted, the Religious Right was founded not in response to Roe but to Green v. Connally in 1972 (and later the BJU decision) which held that any institution that practiced segregation was not qualified for tax-exempt standing. Abortion politics and later basic gay rights solidified the SBC's divorce with the Democratic Party - but those issues did not cause the divorce.

How old are you Bart? Nearing 40, right? So, your first election was what, 1988? So, what made you a Democrat 20 years ago? Dukakis was indeed a liberal - supported both abortion rights and gay rights. What about the Democratic Party has changed so dramatically in the past 20 years that made you jump ship to the GOP side??? Somehow, I just don't think you voted for Dukakis. Can one really call themselves a Democrat if they don't support the TOP of the ticket?

My point stands - when only 1% of clergy of a denomination as large and diverse as the Southern Baptist Convention prefer America's majority political party - it is somewhat alarming. Can you name a large American denomination that supports either the Dem or GOP at such a low (1%) rate?

I do wonder though - what do you think the Republican Party has done for the interests of Southern Baptists lately? Anything?

3:28 PM

Blogger Cat's Dad said...

He wasn't Southern Baptist at the time, but if you credit (or blame) Jerry Falwell with the forming of the Religious Right, it was all about Roe v. Wade. Falwell was a champion of desegregation.

Today, I'm relieved that only 1% of SBC pastors will support either Democrat candidate. McCain and the Republican party aren't all they should be, but represent the best stances on abortion and homosexual marriage.

I'm amazed and appalled that any SBC pastor would vote for a pro-choice, pro-homosexual marriage candidate.

7:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with bart and cat's dad. I'm old enough to be BDW's grandmother and am a former Democrat with Democrat parents, grandparents and in-laws and everyone I knew. The platform of the party is now so full of anti-Christian views that I can no longer even give them a thought, let alone a vote.
I'm not thrilled with the Republican nominee either and really place little hope in any political party, but God is still on the throne and therein lies my hope. Mom2

8:15 AM

Blogger Chad Reed said...

If 80% of SBC pastors pledged their support for McCain and only 1% of them are for Obama, then I would like to know about the 19% that is unaccounted for.

Maybe some of the 19% are not big fans of McCain, yet they will vote Republican anyways in November?

Maybe some of them are big McCain supporters, yet they would rather not endorse a candidate publicly?

Maybe some of them are closet Obama supporters? (Let’s not even kid ourselves and think that any of them would ever support Hillary.)

Shadrach, while I can’t prove anything, I suspect that the percentage of SBC pastors who will vote Republican in this election is actually higher than 80%.

Good post Aaron! I credited your blog in my post today. Here is the link: http://radcheed.blogspot.com/2008/06/religion-married-politics.html

Cat's Dad, I would like to know your thoughts on the blog post I just linked.

9:05 AM

Blogger Alexis said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:20 AM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Thank you Cat's Dad and Mom2 for discovering that there indeed exists a direct route from the Bible to the Ballot Box!

Sirs and Ladies, to suggest that Jerry Falwell was a champion of desegregation is laughable and insulting to all those who actually fought hard for the civil rights, a movement which Falwell dubbed the Civil Wrongs Movement. Desegregation was first forced in 57 with the Little Rock Nine. A decade later, Jerry Falwell was still denouncing the efforts of desegregation, civil rights, and notable leaders such as MLK and James Farmer from his pulpit at Thomas Road. During the mid 60s, Falwell regularly featured key segregationists such as Lester Maddox and George Wallace on his Gospel show. Jerry Falwell may have changed his mind about race years later like many white southerners but don't make him into a champion of civil rights and desegregation. He was no such thing.

Speaking of gay marriage, in the wake of the California decision, Mr. Anti-FMA John McCain has been awfully quiet.

10:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're welcome, BWD. I'm sorry not to be one of those triangulating Democrats that separates my faith and beliefs from my everyday life. If God is only interested in owning part of me, I guess I can choose which parts. ;(. Mom2

11:37 AM

Blogger Alexis said...

Mom2 and others,

There are those of us who somehow manage to be both Christian and democrat, and offer our lives to Christ completely.

Perhaps some of us can manage to see that Christ's compassion for little children extends outside of the womb. What a narrow view to pick only two issues and PRESUPPOSE that those are of primary importance to God above all others. And what judgment, to assume that any who choose to look at a broader range of issues are some how not allowing their faith to impact the ways they vote. What, exactly, are the anti-Christian views (so many of them)? I know that you will say pro-choice and pro-homosexuality (which is a very very complicated issue to be defined by one term, but that is for another post). What else do you believe is so terrible that democrats stand for?

I will tell you things that I believe are un-Christian that the Republican party stands for- the rape of the environment for a profit (oil, 'no government controls on business') and a refusal to be stewards of the environment; cutting taxes at the expense of literacy and health care for children; supporting and condoning corporate greed and excess while individual Americans don't get paid a living wage; blantantly beginning an unjust war (while lying) and continuing to support the deaths of innocent iraqi civilians and our own American troops; intolerance to the point where a Hate Crimes bill, which prosecutes those who commit crimes against other human beings based solely on a persons differences, is voted against because it protects those 'sinning' homosexuals.

Gosh, those seem like REALLY great reasons to vote Republican.

At the same time, I do not believe it is religion's place to declare one particular party 'God's Party.' Isn't one of the hallmarks of being Baptist that one can follow one's own conscience? Before fundamentalists took over, there were both democrats and republicans in the pews of SBC churches, and they managed to co-exist. But it should be clear from Richard Land's comments that a targeted effort was made to remove freedom of conscience (even to the extent of politics) and push for an agenda where the convention (and apparently churches) are controlled by Republicans (and not even fiscally conservative ones!!! eg IRAQ).

What a celebration for the neo-conservatives, that they were able to take over such a huge voting block on the premise of two issues, which they have since done nothing about. But apparently the SBC has swallowed the rhetoric hook line and sinker.

At one point in this country, we were not so divided into parties. And we certainly could go to the same church and worship without a fear of being judged. but I guess those days are over.

12:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

alexis, did you just make a judgment that I could not possibly care for the poor? I grew up poor and they are some of my favorite people and I help as many as I can (I'm retired and still not rich). This judging thing goes both directions.
God's Word is our guideline for our way of thinking. Is Jesus saying abort the baby, it's ok, no one need hear about that? Is Jesus telling us, no need to warn the homosexual about what My Word says about that?
Love cares enough to want all to know Him, but first they have to be allowed to know life. Mom2

12:41 PM

Anonymous Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Actually, Falwell was an ardent segregationist until the mid-'70s. And historian Randall Balmer has debunked the claim that Roe v. Wade led to the formation of the Religious Right. The RR was formed to protect the tax-exempt status of segregationistic Bob Jones University. Abortion and other cultural issues were added later to keep the coalition together. This has been admitted by many of the movement's founders.

Oh, and though I am a registered Democrat, I certainly agree that no denomination should be in the pocket of ANY political party. I would like to see enough electoral reform (instant run-off voting, proportional representation, etc.) for a few 3rd parties to flourish: The Green Party on the left (I would probably join) and the Libertarians on the Right, perhaps.

BDW, I have picked you as a "Blog That Makes My Day." Enjoy the award. See http://levellers.wordpress.com/2008/06/02/blogs-that-make-my-day/

2:53 PM

Blogger Bart Barber said...


Although I was not old enough to vote at the time, I was an ardent supporter of Jimmy Carter in grade school. I know...that's pretty young to have a political affiliation, but since I had watched my father cart around Bill Alexander and Bill Clinton and Ray Thornton and other Arkansas Democrats for all of my sentient life, I became interested in politics rather early.

When I took up residence in Martin Hall in 1988, I was a confirmed Democrat. I cast my primary ballot for (confession of sin is good for us, you know) Al Gore, and then I was one of the four people nationwide who voted for Michael Dukakis.

My Democrat leanings arose out of prejudices in which I had steeped throughout my childhood: Republicans were mean-spirited misers intent upon filching the downtrodden; Democrats were the friends of the working poor and middle-class; Republicans didn't really have any sympathies for Christian theology, since Reagan wasn't much of anything in his personal faith, but were instead manipulating the religious in a blatant vindication of Marx's theories of religion.

Two things happened to me. First, at Baylor I encountered actual Republicans. In Arkansas I think that I had seen one in a museum somewhere near an exhibit on the Brooks-Baxter War, but at Baylor the experience was up-close and personal. These were the years when, much to the consternation of the faculty, the college Republicans secured Ronald Reagan himself to come to Waco and stump for George Bush in the new Ferrell Center. As is often the case, prejudice crumbled in the face of actual acquaintance.

Second, I began actually to think about issues rather than to vote out of family loyalty (and that issue went away when Dad finally joined the GOP). In so doing, I became the much-maligned single-issue voter.

But really, if I'm a single-issue voter, we all are. Couldn't you, Big Daddy, identify a thousand "single" issues that would disqualify any candidate? No matter how smart and promising and ideologically sound a candidate were, could you vote for a credibly convicted child molester? Someone who wanted to resume atmospheric nuclear testing in the Bikinis? Someone who favored "separate but equal" racially segregated public schools? We all have multiple "single" issues.

For me, abortion has become one of those. To deny life itself to a person—and to do so merely because that person has come along at an inopportune time or in an inopportune manner—is reprehensible. Yes, I can sympathize with the tremendous pressures that often come with the discovery of a pregnancy, and I can imagine myself being sorely tempted to advocate the abortion a pregnancy for one reason or another (if I as an aspiring Baptist pastor had succumbed to a moment of passion and fathered an illegitimate child in 1987, for example).

Yet that is the very reason why we have laws—to keep us from doing the wrong things that we might be very tempted to do. We need not have laws against my literally cutting off my nose to spite my face, because even though the practice is wrong, virtually nobody is tempted to do so. We enact laws in our saner, more reflective moments in order to restrain our baser-yet-powerful passions in moments of sometimes-enormous stress.

I very well might get angry enough with you to want to kill you; therefore, we have a law against murder.

And that law ought to extend its protection to cover children not yet born. So, whether they be Republican or Democrat or Green or Libertarian or No-Nothing or Whig, I will never again in my life cast a ballot for any person who lacks the moral clarity and courage to decide that government ought to defend defenseless babies from the murderous impulses of their own parents.

I know that you'll be enthralled and profoundly touched by my little vignette. :-)

12:10 AM

Blogger Cat's Dad said...


As I said, if you're going to attribute the RR to Falwell in the early 70's, Roe v. Wade was his motivation, per the biography by his widow. He was by that time a champion of desegregation. If you look at Thomas Road and Liberty U. today, you will see diverse-ethnic make-ups.


I'm glad your mother chose to let you have life, so that you can offer it to Christ completely. I long for the day when our nation will again prohibit the legal choice of a mother to snuff out her baby's innocent life. And I think God does as well.

Without protecting a child's right to be born, our best efforts at providing him or her a clean environment, food on the table, shelter over his or her head, employment with a good wage, keeping him or her from war--all the worthy things you mention--are null and void for that dead child, aren't they?

So, no, I don't understand how you equate these other issues with protecting the right of an innocent baby to be born. Therefore, I don't understand how you support candidates who won't protect that right.

On the other big issue, I'm also glad your mother chose a lifestyle of heterosexuality, so that you could be conceived and born, then able to offer your life to Christ completely. Homosexuality seems to offer the annihilation (through a real low birth rate) of the human race. So, being pro-life, I don't consider it a worthy alternative to be protected and aggrandized by our society. I won't support candidates or a party platform that champions it, and don't understand why any Christian would.

9:07 AM

Anonymous John Fariss said...

Alexis has already commented on the "big picture" quite accurately, so I will not try to improve on that. I will just throw in one snipet of my own: which is better/worse: a party to which abortion-on-demand is a given, and since it is the law of the land (even though I oppose it), does nothing about it, OR a party which gives opposition to it lots of lip-service, but which was been in control of the executive branch of the government for almost eight years now, and which had control of the legislative branch for six of those eight years, and did absolutely NOTHING about it? I suggest that at best it is a wash, and at worst, the party with wherewithall to do something but did nothing instead is the worst. Consequently, you have to look to other factors. And yes, same-sex marriage is one of those, but others are the environment, the corruption record (of course, as long as human beings are in political parties, this will happen without regard for doctrine), rich-vs.-poor, social issues, health care, oh, and yes, the WAR (plus sabre-rattling against Iran, which hopefully will go no further than rattling). My point is that political affliliation and choice of Presidential candidates by those of us who identify ourselves as Baptists or Southern Baptists should not be a given for the GOP.


9:17 AM

Blogger Bart Barber said...

John Fariss,

If Republicans were really doing nothing about abortion, Democrats wouldn't be so terribly nervous about their need to elect a president to make some Supreme Court nominations. We're not many jurists away from an overthrow of Roe, IMHO.

9:57 AM

Anonymous Lee said...

First of all, on this particular subject, I don't think a Lifeway survey can be trusted. Too many trustees would be upset at anyone who found that there were very many Southern Baptist pastors for any Democratic candidate. I know several Southern Baptist pastors who are Obama supporters, and a few who are bold enough to put that support in the form of a bumper sticker on the car they drive to their church.

Abortion was supposed to be done away with, lock, stock and barrel by the time Dubya left the White House. It was a high priority issue during his 2000 campaign, one that he promised to put on the front burner and move forward immediately. Unfortunately, he was distracted by bigger and better things as far as he was concerned, mainly murdering Iraqis, and by the now exposed propaganda campaign of trying to convince the American people that there was a need to do it. So much for the sanctity of human life.

Nor is the current Supreme Court, including both of Bush's appointees, inclined to overturn Roe. The last three Republican presidents have made certain that it remains at least one, and possibly two, votes short of bringing anything into consideration that would change what both John Roberts and Samuel Alito both call "the settled law of the land." The fact that the conservative justices on the court all cited the Roe decision in making the determination that the partial birth abortion ruling was constitutional tells you they are not going to overturn it. We were lied to by Reagan, by Bush I and now by Bush II who, through two terms and six years of a Republican dominated congress essentially sat on his hands and did nothing with regard to social issues of interest to Christians. McCain is cut from the same cloth.

There is some faint hope that McCain might actually want to take Christian social issues seriously in that Mike Huckabee appears to be one of the higher level choices for his running mate. That would seal the deal for me, and get him my vote. If he goes with Romney, or one of the other obscure governors he's considering, I will, along with James Dobson, vote independent.

With the revelation out that the SBC is not a voting bloc of 16 million, but probably only has 6 million active members, many of whom are not voting age, or don't vote, whether 80% of Southern Baptists support McCain or not will make little difference in the face of the coming Democratic landslide.

Glad to see you are recovering!

11:16 AM

Anonymous John Fariss said...


Is your point that we just have to keep electing republican Presidents, and eventually there will be enough pro-life justices to overturn Roe v. Wade? Seems an awfully inefficient process, especially since justices serve for life--and any who admit they will try to change Roe v. wade will probably not get confirmed by Congress (unlike electing conservative SBC presidents , so they can appoint conservative Committee on Committees members whose view is well known and needs only presidential appointment and who serve set terms, so we know both sides will have influence for only a given period). And as Lee points out, the most recent "conservative" apointees don't seem very inclined to change it anyway.

Why didn't we see some legislative initiaves while the Republicans controlled congress? If it was truely President Bush's desire, why didn't he send legislative initiates to Congress, and use the authority of his office to force the Republican hand? I'm not trying to be argumentative, but if I am missing something, I want to know it.

1:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder which is worse. Those who try to get conservative justices nominated, but cannot because of so much delay, assassination of their personal lives and character that some give up and move on; or the ones that plainly and proudly proclaim that to keep abortion legal is a top priority. That being the top priority of the Democrats is why I am not still one of them. Mom2

2:20 PM

Blogger Cat's Dad said...

John Fariss,

Easy answer to your snippet's question: See Mom2's response. She gets it.

If you oppose abortion, join me in fighting to have it outlawed again. Candidates, not party, are who I support, but I find no pro-life Democrats.

3:08 PM

Blogger Jim Paslay said...

John Fariss said:

"which is better/worse: a party which gives opposition to it lots of lip-service, but which was been in control of the executive branch of the government for almost eight years now, and which had control of the legislative branch for six of those eight years, and did absolutely NOTHING about it? I suggest that at best it is a wash, and at worst, the party with wherewithall to do something but did nothing instead is the worst."

For your information, John, President Bush was instrumental in passing the "partial-birth" abortion bill that DEMOCRAT Bill Clinton vetoed twice during his two terms. President Bush has issued executive orders to limit abortions in military hospitals and overseas aid to other countries. Also, you are aware that most abortion laws or policies fall under Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court still has the final say when it comes to abortion. President Bush has given us two strict constructionists in Roberts and Alito on the court that will hopefully challenge the legality of Roe v. Wade one day.

Check the party platform, DEMOCRATS are the party of abortion. Republicans are the party of life. You can spin it anyway you want but you cannot be a DEMOCRAT running for President unless you are pro-choice. The Looney Left of this country is still entrenched in the DEMOCRATIC party.

As for the survey, most of my pastor friends are GOP because of the moral issues. We are not party people, we are issue people. If the GOP ever gives up its pro-life platform, you will see a mass exodus like the one in 1988 when I could no longer be linked with a party that advocates the killing of unborn children.

12:51 PM

Blogger volfan007 said...

I come from a long line of yellow dog democrats. I still have family members who think that somethings really wrong with you if you dont vote the democrat ticket straight up and down. But, a lot of my family are starting to vote republican now, including me. The democrats left us a while back. They have turned so liberal, so pro abortion, so pro homosexual agenda, so more taxes, so gun control, so tree hugging, etc. that many of the Southern, yellow dog democrats in my family are now voting republican every time.

I will be voting against Barack Hussein Obama in the fall. I'm not voting for McCain, even though he will get my ballot. I wish that we had another Ronald Reagan to vote for. But, many in my family and I will be voting against Obama by voting for McCain in the fall.


7:42 AM

Anonymous JSturty said...

You can talk about abortion or homosexuality all you want but I have no doubt that Southern Baptists left the Democratic party in droves after a Democratic president and Democratic congress brought desegregation to the South. I have seen too much and have heard to much to believe otherwise.
I also have no doubt that the South would still be segragated if people in Southern Baptist churches had their way.
I further have no doubt that much of Obama's opposition in the South and maybe elsewhere, is simple racism.

4:40 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker