(Photo: Mud Productions / Stephen Elliot)
Evangelical leaders picked economic recovery as the most important issue facing the nation today, according to an unscientific survey conducted on the board members of the National Association of Evangelicals.
"Evangelicals care deeply about the health of our nation," NAE VP of Government Relations Galen Carey told The Christian Post. "We recognize that a strong moral foundation based on justice and righteousness in all areas of our national life is the essential prerequisite to a safe and prosperous future."
Many voters link social issues, such as abortion, same-sex marriage and other biblical issues, with evangelical groups. However, leaders of socially conservative organizations have been touting economic issues for over a year.
Tony Perkins, who heads the Family Research Council, has been at the forefront in talking about the importance of the economy and how it impacts social issues.
"These issues are front and center. The social issues are intertwined with the fiscal issues," Perkins told The Hill in November. "People understand the reason we have big expensive government is because we have neglected and in many ways discouraged family formation, and that core economic foundation, which is the family."
Conservative women voters also see economic issues at the core of what they are most concerned about, which is "security."
"Women care deeply about economic issues," said Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America. "We're concerned about protecting our children, our national security and how our families can make our mortgage payment each month."
Nance hits on an issue that is often overlooked by candidates when they are speaking to female voters: economic security.
"I know from talking to women across this country that they are concerned for their husband's job and his ability to make a living. Even single moms are on edge as they face the prospect of having enough money to meet their monthly obligations. I think the key to 2012 will be where the 'independent' female voter will come down on these issues."
While the "economy" was listed as the number one issue among the board members who responded, they also listed reducing the number of Americans who live in poverty, unemployment and reducing the national debt as other critical issues facing the nation – all of which are connected to the economy.
Coming in at a distant second in the survey was the issue of foreign policy, specifically religious persecution and the instability in the Middle East.
Greg Johnson, president of Standing Together, said, "First and foremost, we need to honor God as a nation. We need leaders who will protect life, defend marriage, and care for the least of these among us. Second, we need to tackle our debt as a nation, and yes, this means we need to cut our national spending significantly. Third, we must get Americans back to work. We need job creation efforts to succeed. Fourth, we need to fix our immigration issues, compassionately and fairly."
The NAE represents more than 45,000 churches from over 40 different denominations in the United States.