Many Evangelicals Optimistic about Obama Presidency

national-association-of-evangelicals.JPGSome prominent evangelical leaders said Wednesday that they are
optimistic about working together with the Obama administration and
even noted that relationships have already been built by the campaign’s
faith outreach arm.

The leaders did acknowledge, however, that differences will continue
to exist between the two groups, but pointed out that a growing number
of evangelicals are looking to find common ground on culture war issues
such as abortion and homosexuality.

“The strategy is very different from the past. The religious
right practiced this zero sum game where somebody else has to lose for
us to win,” commented the Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president of the
National Association of Evangelicals, during an election analysis teleconference on Wednesday.

“And our [centrist evangelical] strategy is a common good that
says we are all in this together,” he said. “That means we learned as
evangelicals how to collaborate with whom we disagree.”

Dr. David Gushee, professor of Christian Ethics at
Atlanta-based Mercer University, went as far as to maintain that the
religious right was in decline and that it is up to the right to decide
to change and adopt a broader agenda.

“I think that there is clearly a fracture between the
evangelical right or Christian right and in many ways the rest of the
country and the rest of the evangelical community,” Gushee contended.

He questioned if there will be a permanent fracture between
the Christian right and the rest of the evangelical body, and
contrasted the right with centrist and progressive evangelicals who are
“well positioned” to work with the government and the new
administration on issues as broad as torture, the environment,
immigration and nuclear weapon production.

“A posture that says we don’t have to agree on everything but
we can work on these things together is going to put us in a better
position to be a constructive player in the next four years than the
stance that the apocalypse is upon us because Barack Obama has won the election,” Gushee asserted.

Both Gushee and Cizik commented on the change in evangelical
perspective on social justice issues, which evangelicals increasingly
see as values issues caused by a moral problem.

“I am optimistic, as David expressed he is, that this president
understands problems in terms of not just of technical revolution but
in terms of the moral complexity,” Cizik said. “And that’s a good
sign.”

National exit polls show that Obama made significant inroads among religious voters.

While Obama widely lost to Republican candidate Sen. John McCain
among evangelical voters (75 percent to 24 percent), it’s notable that
his support among this group was five percentage points higher than
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry in 2004.

Source: Christian Post

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