WASHINGTON, February 2, 2016 — When President Obama won re-election in 2012, the Rev. Franklin Graham (son of Rev. Billy Graham) told the Christian Broadcasting Network, “The majority of Christians in this country just did not vote for whatever reason. The vast majority of evangelicals did not go to the polls. God is in control, and if Christians are upset, they need to be upset at themselves. We need to do a better job of getting our people – the church – to vote.”
Last December, Texas Senator Ted Cruz told supporters, “If we awaken and energize the body of Christ and people of faith to come out and vote our values – we will win and we will turn our country around.”
Monday night, the congregation responded. Iowans flocked to the Republican caucuses to give Cruz a 28 percent victory over billionaire real estate tycoon Donald J. Trump, who came in second at a respectable 24 percent.
“Early figures from the Republican contest show evangelicals or those who identify as ‘born-again’ Christians accounted for 62 percent – a number much higher than expected,” said Fox News.
“God bless the great state of Iowa!” said Cruz when beginning his victory speech. “Iowa has sent notice. The Republican nominee and the next president of the United States will not be chosen by the media, will not be chosen by the Washington establishment, will not be chosen by the lobbyists, but will be chosen by the most incredible, powerful force where all sovereignty resides in our nation: by ‘We the People,’ the American people.”
“Cruz was buoyed by the 12,000 volunteers working for him in Iowa,” said the Des Moines Register, “including 164 pastors.”
Recently, R.R. Reno, writing in the race-obsessed New York Times, wondered, “Long after the dust settles in Iowa – and New Hampshire, and even the 2016 campaign itself – one question will remain: Why, after decades of supporting the liberal and conservative establishments, did the white middle class abandon them?”
Instead, the questions should be: How will America’s Christian communities respond to unelected government institutions, like the U.S. Supreme Court, using their authoritarian power to endorse killing the unborn and redefining marriage? How will America’s Christian communities respond to the mainstream media’s attempt to normalize the pagan rituals of popular culture as exemplified by ESPN’s awarding of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Bruce Jenner for his bizarre act of self-mutilation?
“Christians need to think forward to the 2016 elections,” said the Christian organization Focus on the Family after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage. “The next president and U.S. Senate could nominate and confirm up to four of the nine Supreme Court justices – who have lifetime appointments – and up to one-third of all other federal judges.”
Last May, President Obama told a meeting of the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit, “When you’re talking in your congregations, what’s the thing that is really going to capture the essence of who we are as Christians, or as Catholics, or what have you? Poverty is oftentimes viewed as a ‘nice to have’ relative to an issue like abortion.”
The president’s choice of wealth-redistribution as the focus of modern Christianity notwithstanding, the “right to life,” as Thomas Jefferson observed in the Declaration of Independence, is right up there with “liberty” and its intended purpose, “the pursuit of happiness.”
“Our rights do not come from the Democratic Party, or the Republican Party or even the tea party. Our rights come from our Creator,” said Cruz in reference to Jefferson’s “self-evident” truths. Referring to his Iowa caucus win, he observed, “Tonight is a testament to the people’s commitments, to their yearnings to get back to our core commitment: free-market principles, constitutional liberties and the Judeo-Christian values that built this great nation.”
It appears that the sleeping giant of American politics — the evangelical Christian — has stirred at last.