In what one pastor is calling a “moral mandate” from the voters, millions of Americans made choices in the election yesterday based on traditional social issues.
Both Christian activists and media analysts agree that many voters put moral issues high on their priority lists, ushering President Bush into another four-year term, approving same-sex marriage bans and giving Republicans boosts both on Capitol Hill and throughout the nation.
Evangelical organizations today are pointing to election results and touting the power of their constituencies.
“Moral issues fueled yesterday’s astonishing electoral triumph for George Bush and the Republican Party in the House and Senate,” said Dr. D. James Kennedy, president of Coral Ridge Ministries, in a statement. “Despite the conventional political wisdom that moral concerns are a drag on a political ticket, it was values that energized voters, lifted turnout among evangelicals and Catholics, and led to substantial GOP pickups in the House and Senate. The voters have delivered a moral mandate.”
In the wake of the GOP victories, Kennedy urged party leaders not to marginalize those voters that helped make electoral success possible.
“Now that values voters have delivered for George Bush, he must deliver for their values,” said Kennedy. “The defense of innocent unborn human life, the protection of marriage, and the nomination and confirmation of federal judges who will interpret the Constitution, not make law from the bench, must be first priorities, come January.”
Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America, made similar comments, saying evangelicals were mobilized by the same-sex marriage issue.
“We are pleased that both the executive branch and the legislative branch will be controlled by pro-family conservatives and that every one of the 11 state constitutional amendments to ban homosexual ‘marriages’ passed overwhelmingly,” Combs said. “There is no doubt that because four radical left-wing Massachusetts judges ruled that homosexual ‘marriages’ are constitutional last year, there was a conservative backlash which played a major role in the election outcome yesterday. Christian evangelicals made the major difference once again this year.”
Combs says the Christian Coalition will work to pass legislation loosening speech restrictions on churches.
The Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, also credited evangelicals, saying his organization’s first priority would be to “focus on the nomination of a pro-life Supreme Court Justice.”
Some exit polling indicates fully one-third of voters in yesterday’s election were evangelical Christians.
Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council took aim at Democrats.
“This election demonstrates that Democratic Party leaders have moved far away from the moral consensus in America,” he said in a statement. “If they are to reclaim political relevancy, they will need to reexamine their positions on all the major moral issues including the sanctity of human life, the sanctity of marriage and the public acknowledgement of God.”
Commented Mathew Staver, president of Liberty Counsel: “Marriage, morals and the sanctity of human life were the real winners in this election. The people have spoken. The politicians must now listen or find other employment.”