I have never considered myself an evangelical and until recently, I didn’t even know what that meant. Let me give you the encyclopedia’s definition of an evangelical:
Evangelicalism is a theological perspective, most closely associated with Protestant Christianity, which identifies with the gospel. Although evangelicalism has been defined in a number of ways, most adherents consider belief in the need for personal conversion (or being "born again"), some expression of the gospel through evangelism, a high regard for Biblical authority, and an emphasis on the death and resurrection of Jesus to be key characteristics. Based on this definition I would say that I am an evangelical.
The 2004 survey of Religion and politics in the United States identified the Evangelical percentage of the population at 26.3%; while Catholics are 22% and Mainline Protestants make up 16%. In the 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States, the figures for these same groups are 28.6% (Evangelical), 24.5% (Catholics), and 13.9% (Mainline Protestant.) The latter figures are based on a 2001 study of the self-described religious identification of the adult population for 1990 and 2001 from the Graduate School and University Center at the City University of New York. Based on this definition I would say that I am more evangelical than not.
I would agree with CNN’s description that “Obama struck a conversational tone and directed his answers toward moderator Rick Warren. McCain gave straightforward responses, taking a more personal approach as he directed his answers toward the audience and viewers at home”. I personally felt as though John MCcain was very direct in his answers while Barack Obama usually seemed more reflective on his answers, sometimes not really giving a direct answer but giving his overall thoughts on the topics in question. Again, this fell right in line with what we as the American public have become accustomed two with these two candidates.
Although Pastor Warren asked a wide variety of questions from faith and issues that are important to the evangelical voting bloc, Warren also asked political questions about topics such as leadership, taxes and foreign policy. One thing I believe is becoming more and more evident is that this election will probably be decided on two issues; abortion and same sex marriage. The most interesting thing is that these are the two points that the candidates are the farthest apart on. I would like to summarize the candidates’ positions on these two topics.
Sen. MCcain stated that he is pro-life and if elected president he will assert a pro-life presidency. Sen. Obama stated that he is pro-choice and that he supports Roe vs. Wade.
My assessment: Thumbs up to McCain!
On same sex marriage
Senator McCain stated that he believes that a marriage should be between a man and a woman but he believes that it should be up to the states to decide. McCain stated that although he believes marriage should be defined as a man and a woman and that “"For me as a Christian, it is a sacred union. God's in the mix," he said. But he also said that he supports legalized civil unions between people of the same sex.
My assessment: Edge to McCain, but just barely. Only because Senator Obama looks to legalize same-sex unions.
These two issues are the line in the sand for evangelicals and socially conservative voters and are too important to overlook.
From a secular view, there are probably more important things to discuss than abortion and gay marriage. You can look at the economy, healthcare, AIDS, etc. These are very important topics also but which topics should have a higher priority for us? Because I believe a person of faith should not look at the world the same way non-believers do, our priorities should be different.
Because of my faith I believe that not only are the issues of marriage and sanctity of life important to God, but I believe that it is the very foundation of our society. If we don’t get the very basics correct, the rest, I believe will be irrelevant.
As in the last two presidential elections I believe evangelicals will maintain a strong influence on who the next president is and this is how it is supposed to be. The Bible says that we are salt and light to the world. We are supposed to bring the heart and the mind of God to those around us. If we sit back instead of making our priorities known, the Bible says we are useless. Whatever you believe should reflect who you cast your vote for.
Matthew 5:13-16 (King James Version) 13: Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savior, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Joe Green is a husband and a father of four. He is a published author and a radio station owner. He travels the world as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Joe shares his story of how he went from being homeless, a drug dealer, and a heavy drug and alcohol abuser to being the first African American owner of a Christian broadcast radio station in Central Pa.