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January 4th, 2012
12:10 AM ET

My Take: Iowa caucus results puncture myth of 'evangelical vote'

Editor's Note: Ralph Reed is founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

By Ralph Reed, Special to CNN

(CNN)–One of the most important sub-plots in the Iowa caucuses was which candidate would win the support of Iowa’s evangelical voters, who comprised 60 percent of the vote in 2008, and according to the CNN entrance poll, comprised 58% of the vote Tuesday night.

In the media’s instant analysis, a “splintering” of Iowa's evangelical vote among numerous candidates made it difficult for them to influence the selection of the Republican presidential nominee.

But this narrative is based on a caricature of evangelicals and other voters of faith. Consider this: 61% of self-identified evangelicals who attended a caucus Tuesday night in Iowa voted for a candidate who is either Roman Catholic (Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum) or Mormon (Mitt Romney, who won the caucuses, besting Santorum by eight votes ).

Here's how the evangelical vote broke down: 32% for Santorum, 18% for Ron Paul, 13% each for Romney, Gingrich and Rick Perry, 6% for Michele Bachmann and 1% for Jon Huntsman.

This suggests a more nuanced and complex portrait of voters of faith. They are often crudely portrayed as voting based solely on identity politics, born suckers for quotes from Scripture or “code words” laced in the speeches of candidates appealing to their spiritual beliefs.

Evangelical voters, it turns out, are a more sophisticated bunch, judging candidates on a broad continuum of considerations from their personal faith and character to leadership attributes and electability.

There is a story out of Iowa - a story about a faith community that has matured beyond voting for the “most evangelical” candidate as a “statement” and takes seriously the responsibility of electing someone to occupy the Oval Office at a time of great national testing.

The same is true of Tea Party voters, women voters, or other subgroups within the electorate. None is breaking overwhelmingly for a single candidate, primarily because so many candidates have made credible appeals for their support, and because there is no single consensus front-runner.

The truth is that evangelical vote has never been monolithic. Pat Robertson won strong support from his coreligionists in Iowa in 1988, catapulting his candidacy to national prominence, but still lost the caucuses to Bob Dole, and lost the evangelical vote to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush in South Carolina.

George W. Bush won a third of the evangelical vote in Iowa in 2000, splitting that vote with Steve Forbes and more explicitly social conservative candidates like Gary Bauer and Alan Keyes. These voters march to their own drummer. They don’t bleat like sheep or move in herds, and they rarely respond en masse to endorsements.

This point is underscored by the entrance poll, which found that 42% of caucus-attenders list the economy as the number one issue in determining their vote, and 34% cite the budget deficit; only 14% listed abortion.

This is not to suggest that social issues are unimportant. No candidate can be competitive in Iowa (or beyond) without conservative credentials on the cultural agenda. Indeed, Santorum’s surge was in part a response to his deftly weaving the economic and social agendas together, arguing that it is impossible to have a vibrant economy without strong families.

It does suggest, as Kimberly Strassel recently observed in The Wall Street Journal, that evangelicals are embedded in the social and economic mainstream of American life and, as such, are motivated by a broad range of concerns, including jobs, taxes, the debt, and national security.

So when commentators prognosticate about the “evangelical vote,” we might want to ask them, “which one?” For there are there are many evangelical votes, many candidates who win their support, and a multitude of motivations for their engagement in the rough-and-tumble of American politics.

This is all to the good. It demonstrates that their civic involvement is a cause for celebration, not alarm, a sign of the health of our political system, not that it suffers from an anti-democratic or sectarian impulse.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ralph Reed.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Iowa • Opinion • Politics

soundoff (987 Responses)
  1. frogprince

    Never allow any fanatic of any religion to be president of America! They will FORCE their agenda and belief of the end time to happen!

    January 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • 21k

      too late, they are already in too many public offices. once a gop wins the white house, they'll add enough supreme court justices to make the rest of us wish for the end of days.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Marks from Middle River

      ..... And when we elect a black man as president the blacks and latinos will rise up and the world will end .....

      Sorry, but your "unless people who are like are elected then the world will end" sounds the same as when every person who runs for and the other side has resort to scare tactics.

      Basically, your post is not that much different then the racist neo-Nazi sites and comments made about Obama.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  2. ashrakay

    @An inconvenient truth, as I've asked before... When exactly did god give science to man? I don't remember reading about antibiotics in the bible. Maybe you can point to a specific verse.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • 21k

      it is covered under iowa science textbook law #3;
      1, gawd made it
      2, gawd did it
      3. gawd works in strange ways.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Did reply to you , further examination shows us that all the plants and herbs are given for a variety of uses,including antibiotics.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Inconvenient Lack of Truth, Science, is not something that you "give". I cannot give my daughter science. If it were that simple, I'm sure someone would have given you science many years ago. Science: the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. To dumb it down for you, it is the method we use to observe and understand the world around us and it is based on observation, hypothesis and most importantly, EXPERIMENTATION THAT CAN LEAD TO VERIFIABLE AND REPEATABLE RESULTS. I assure you that you will find no such thing in the bible, because that would be equivalent to god signing his own death warrant.

      January 4, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  3. 21k

    oh for x sake. all of these nitwits stated that they were called by god to run. that's all a faith-based voter needs to hear, so of course their votes were distributed among the different false prophets. these people think that god makes airplanes fly, how can you expect them to apply logic to anything?

    January 4, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  4. Surthurfurd

    We had a evangelical President: Jimmy Carter.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Observer

      Yes. The religious right says that Jimmy Carter was probably the worst president ever.

      Love the hypocrisy.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  5. lacoaster

    Do they have empty looks or is it just me?

    January 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  6. Sean

    I happen to live in a rural area of the deep South that's dominated by these yahoos, and this narrative is bogus! They speak almost entirely the same language, and they're not found of Mormons! They do view it as a cult and Jews are the chosen people, they just can't go to heaven. They will vote for Romney, because they dislike Obama even more.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Sean

      Typo.. Fond! ->Oops, borrowed from Perry!

      January 4, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Tyler

      I live in the deep south too, and what you said is absolutely true.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  7. scoto

    Like I'm going to believe anything Ralph Reed has to say.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  8. Tony

    Evangelicals voted for what they saw as the lesser of 2 evils...a Catholic over a Mormon. When Ron Paul gets more votes then Mitt Romney...well...enough said...

    January 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Sean

      Evangelicals I know, speak terribly about Catholicism and the Pope. They know I went to Catholic school, but they can't hold their tongues (pun intended). They will vote for Romney, because it's anti-Obama! They will cut their nose, to spite their face.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  9. imagine

    everyone talks about what a disgraceful failure obama has been maybe its time to stop talking and remove him from office.....

    January 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • cykill

      yeah! lets bring back george W. he is a good christian...

      January 4, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • proud2bsecular

      Your "eveyone" who sees Obama as a failure might just be the CRAZY line up of Republican candidates who hear god telling them to run. Sounds like you're making a sensible choice, going with the delusional people, over the rational, articulate, educated, reasonable one.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Observer

      The stock market is WAY UP since Obama became president.

      Bin Laden and Qadafi are dead.

      We have removed troops from the war in Iraq that Bush started.

      Those are failures to you. LOL.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Marks from Middle River

      The stock market is up but more people are out of work. I do not mean to sound completely "Occupy Wall Street" but if the gauge of Obama's presidency is the rich on Wall Street getting richer and us common folks getting poorer then the entire who is for the rich and who is for the poor needs to be re-evaluated.

      Also the death of quadaffi I would give more credit to that guy in Tunisa who set himself on fire which started the protest movements.

      January 4, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Observer

      Marks from Middle River,

      Easy question since the stock market doesn't seem too important to you:

      Would you prefer the stock market of today that is WAY UP or the stock market that Bush left PLUMMETING? Back to reality?

      In case you missed the story, it was our drones that blew up Qadafi's convoy and forced him into the drainage ditch.

      January 5, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  10. proud2bsecular

    CNN is displaying some SPECTACULAR journalism here, taking an evangelical's press-stopping belief that he finds evangelicals to be sophisticated, intellectual giants in the voting booth and making it a HEADLINE. If I hadn't read this in print, I would have continued to believe that this voting block propels delusional, unbalanced candidates with an agenda best described by their (equally unbalanced) fundamentalist pulpit pounding theocracy-pushing religious leaders. Thank goodness CNN cleared this up by asking an unbiased news source.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  11. Ancient Curse

    What Ralph Reed calls "sophistication," I call "hypocrisy." The number one reason I reject Christianity isn't the ideology; it's the Christians themselves. The Sermon on the Mount? I'm totally down with that. Blessed are the peacemakers, indeed. I don't know of many Christian peacemakers, though. I know too many Christians who would use the Bible as a weapon rather than an avenue toward peace or kindness.

    Now I know why Jesus wept.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • john

      thats the weirdest thing i have ever read. you reject god because of people?

      January 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • nuisance

      Who do you think are running these religious rackets?

      January 4, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Ancient Curse

      Not God - Christianity. Too much hypocrisy among the believers to consider joining them in the way they follow "The Word." To be honest, I find more depth of spirituality and unconditional kindness among non-believers than I do with the folks who are "trying to be better Christians." Strange that it seems so difficult for them.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  12. oraymw

    Sorry, Ralph, but you're wrong, as evidenced by the vote in Iowa. The problem is that the only "real" candidates in this election don't fit the Evangelical vote. Evangelicals would rather elect a Catholic than a Mormon. They've been running through candidates faster than I'm going through can-openers, and that is because they are not complex. They cite all kids of reasons why they decide to vote a certain way, but the real reason is because they refuse to vote for a Mormon.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • morpunkt

      Bingo to the 100th power!

      January 5, 2012 at 1:55 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    January 4, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • john

      prayer has been scientifically studied and proven that it does indeed influence the physical body at least. i believe it works on many levels but science is fundamentally flawed in its dogmatic approach to reason and reality. "if it cant be proven it doesnt exist".. so very sad indeed

      January 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • LinCA

      If you recycle a single sheet of paper, you will have done more for your country than all prayer for it combined.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Observer

      Sure didn't help the political careers of Palin, Bachmann, Cain, or Perry even after God told them to run. Guess they missed God saying "just kidding".

      January 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • rigel54

      Atheism is profoundly healthy, especially for modern cultures. Theism, which requires faith, the acceptance of often preposterous ideas without evidence, and postulates "moral" codes often founded on culturally outdated, dangerous and false assumption, is dangerously stupid. Most of what is truly valuable about our current (European and American) cultures is born from ages of rationalism and science. The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, and the age of science of the 20th century made us the good part of what we are. Ages of religion have given us repression and decay.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Observer

      "science is fundamentally flawed in its dogmatic approach to reason and reality."

      Lol. So don't use anything invented or discovered by science. No more medications. Believe in talking serpents and unicorns instead.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Without prayer there would be no science. Science is not a god ,God gave science to man for mans improvement.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • ashrakay

      My atheist kid can beat up your christian kid.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @An inconvenient truth, as I've asked before... When exactly did god give science to man? I don't remember reading about antibiotics in the bible. Maybe you can point to a specific verse.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Observer

      An inconvenient truth,

      "God gave science to man for mans improvement."

      Sure. There's NOT ONE scientific advancement mentioned by Jesus in spite of all the ignorance about science from people in his lifetime. Get serious.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • David

      Is your atheist kid named Goliath by any chance?

      January 4, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • nuisance

      God gave science to man? That makes me feel better since the Earth is the center of the universe and all. 🙂

      January 4, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Is not healing science?

      January 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Observer

      An inconvenient truth,

      The Bible contradicts most of the laws of physics and ignors scientific facts. It even claims that the ratio pi is equal to 3.00.

      Science and the Bible have little in common.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Jim

      @LinCA – The point of prayer isn't to change the external world into your own image, it really is to commune with God. Authentically communing with God changes you, and thus accomplishes far more than recycling a piece of paper. But, it's interesting that you used such a material example, since I believe that's ultimately what Progressives believe in – materialism (i.e., anything they can't see or touch can't or doesn't exist). It's a very "flat earth" way of looking at the world.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Science was given to man during creation, when man was given dominion over the earth.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Observer

      An inconvenient truth,

      "Science was given to man during creation, when man was given dominion over the earth."

      That doesn't say anything about science, but it's okay to just make things up. Next, are we also going to hear that the Bible specifically condemns abortions or child molesters?

      January 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      God brought all the animals to Adam to name them. Is not discovering,categorizing and naming animals science?

      January 4, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Jim

      You said, "The point of prayer isn't to change the external world into your own image, it really is to commune with God. Authentically communing with God changes you, and thus accomplishes far more than recycling a piece of paper. But, it's interesting that you used such a material example, since I believe that's ultimately what Progressives believe in – materialism (i.e., anything they can't see or touch can't or doesn't exist). It's a very "flat earth" way of looking at the world."

      That's quite the leap.

      It's not materialism. It's a realization that the world we live in is the only one we've got and that, at the rate we're going, we're not leaving a very nice one for the generations that follow us.

      Part of the issue I have with the christian world view is the apparent belief that the world was created for humans by their god. That all the resources are there for us to use and abuse.

      Reducing our consumption, reusing what we can and recycling what we can't reuse, is a far better use of our resources than any time spent in prayer. Prayer is a may help you feel better, recycling will make your community better.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Observer

      An inconvenient truth,

      Does giving your dog a name make you a scientist? Get serious.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Jim

      @LinCA –

      It's not materialism. It's a realization that the world we live in is the only one we've got and that, at the rate we're going, we're not leaving a very nice one for the generations that follow us.

      That is exactly materialism. That the material world is more important than anything non-material.

      Part of the issue I have with the christian world view is the apparent belief that... all the resources are there for us to use and abuse.

      That's not a Christian world view. It might be the behavior of some Christians, but it's also the behavior of pretty much everyone that's ever lived, including all of the peoples that claim to "live in harmony with the earth". The only reason cultures have been able to "live in harmony" is that their populations were very small, and thus, the impact of their behavior was negligible in the long run. But, in the short run, almost every people group that has ever lived has depopulated areas of forageable food and game. Our population is so large now, that our collective actions have much greater and immediate impact.

      Reducing our consumption, reusing what we can and recycling what we can't reuse, is a far better use of our resources than any time spent in prayer. Prayer is a may help you feel better, recycling will make your community better.

      Once again, materialism. It's like saying "Why spend 100m on a Monet, when you can give all that money to the poor?" Because the concept of a Monet is worth more in the long run. I'm not saying all prayers put out there are as valuable as a Monet (they certainly aren't), but that the idea of prayer is more valuable than mere materialism, in that its immediately intangible qualities have the potential to change people (not just "make them feel better"), whereas recycling a piece of paper has almost no discernable impact. While modifying an external behavior is useful, it isn't necessarily transformational, whereas changing one's inner being for the good, can result in multiple external changes across the range of one's life, and thus, in every sphere of influence a person has (including in ones' community), and the effect is usually more permanent.

      January 4, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Jim

      You just don't get it, do you? The only benefit to society of prayer is self medication of the deluded. Talking to your imaginary friend does nothing to help anyone other than perhaps make you feel better about yourself.

      The use and promotion of prayer to perpetuate the insanity of religion makes the net effect of prayer on society vastly negative.

      While the effect of recycling a single sheet of paper may be almost inconsequential, the benefits of reducing the need to cut a single twig, to produce that single sheet of paper, eclipses any benefits of all prayer combined.

      January 5, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • fred

      LinCA
      You said: “Part of the issue I have with the christian world view is the apparent belief that the world was created for humans by their god. That all the resources are there for us to use and abuse”

      =>That goes against the Bible and against the character of God. Man was to care for and tend to that which God has given. Man is to reflect a character of work and care as if he was working onto the Lord this means doing the best possible for all concerned.
      It is not just the the Christian World view. It is a world view that was enectacte by Ho.mo Neandertalensis as they cared for their loved ones in passing by including provisions with burial remains for the afterlife. Atheists tend to be materialists as their world view centers on self and what is known by sight. Consider your statement that to recycle a piece of paper is of greater value to you than the love and compashion involved in prayer pretty well sums it up.
      Since the time man scribbled on cave walls we see a pattern of worship. A world view that something more than what we know and see exists. If atheists could only erase any life form that knows “In the beginning God created” somehow the world would be a better place. This the atheist thinks and believes without any evidence whatsoever.

      January 5, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "Since the time man scribbled on cave walls we see a pattern of worship."
      Those that still do have apparently not evolved much.

      You said, "A world view that something more than what we know and see exists."
      I accept, without question, that there is a lot more then we know and can see. But making unfounded assumptions about what we can't see, and passing it off as the undisputed truth, is utterly ridiculous.

      You said, "If atheists could only erase any life form that knows “In the beginning God created” somehow the world would be a better place. This the atheist thinks and believes without any evidence whatsoever."
      No. Atheists typically don't fall for some moronic story without any solid evidence in support. Gullibility isn't a virtue. But, to be a theist you have to believe the nonsense against all evidence.

      As mentioned earlier, without evidence the existence of your imaginary friend is no more likely than the Tooth Fairy. Even Santa Claus is infinitely more likely to exist than your god, as the Santa myth is built on the life story of a person that actually lived.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • fred

      LinCA
      To remove God from society as you promote and move forward with a godless society is an experiment of grand scale that would be undertaken without any evidence or proof whatsoever that such a model is workable. We have known and operated only in a world where the majority of people worshiped deity. The mindset that believes we are simply animals without soul has no problem experimenting on humans.

      Given you comment on Santa are you suggesting Jesus never lived?

      January 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "To remove God from society as you promote and move forward with a godless society is an experiment of grand scale that would be undertaken without any evidence or proof whatsoever that such a model is workable. We have known and operated only in a world where the majority of people worshiped deity."
      As opposed to a model where we have the sheep believing in a mythical being for which there is no evidence. If we get rid of the delusions of gods, at the very least we won't have to argue about who's imaginary friend is better. We've tried your way for thousands of years. It's high time to give reason a shot.

      You said, "The mindset that believes we are simply animals without soul has no problem experimenting on humans."
      Ignorant assumption on your part. Morality doesn't come religion, and is certainly not exclusive to it.

      You said, "Given you comment on Santa are you suggesting Jesus never lived?"
      While I wasn't referring to Jesus but his alleged father, the evidence for Jesus having actually lived is also pretty flimsy.

      January 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • fred

      As a person of reason you should be impressed that the world view centered on Deity still determines the fate of the world and even your very existence. Where ever you go in the past 2,000 years it is actually the cross of Christ and the power in the name of Jesus that stands out. A reasonable person would at least approach faith with an open mind. The majority of Christians have no problem with all the science that abounds yet it is the atheist that objects to the cross. A person of reason would ask why does this delusion of the Christians eat at me day and night?

      January 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "As a person of reason you should be impressed that the world view centered on Deity still determines the fate of the world and even your very existence."
      Not impressed, but amazed that it is still accepted as a valid view.

      You said, "Where ever you go in the past 2,000 years it is actually the cross of Christ and the power in the name of Jesus that stands out."
      A few hundred years ago, most people thought the earth was flat. Just because a lot of people don't know any better, is their opinion true or valid.

      You said, "A reasonable person would at least approach faith with an open mind."
      I did. It makes no sense whatsoever.

      You said, "The majority of Christians have no problem with all the science that abounds yet it is the atheist that objects to the cross."
      I don't object to the cross. It just isn't special. Keep the nonsense out of my life and that of others, and you won't hear from me.

      You said, "A person of reason would ask why does this delusion of the Christians eat at me day and night?"
      I did, and the answer is pretty clear. It's because the assault on fundamental freedoms perpetrated in the name of these delusions. Please read the piece by Dean Obeidallah to see why the likes of Santorum are so dangerous. The article is here: http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/05/opinion/obeidallah-santorum-sharia/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

      January 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  14. Dave

    I don't know what he is smoking, but I would like some!

    January 4, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  15. Powersoak

    Ralph Reed: if his lips are moving he's lying.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  16. reade4r

    CNN should get rid of Opinion articles. I come here for news, I really don't care what extremists happen to think.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • LinCA

      @reade4r

      You said, "CNN should get rid of Opinion articles. I come here for news, I really don't care what extremists happen to think."
      While they mix news reports and opinion pieces together, they are pretty decent at identifying the opinion pieces. Pay attention to the link or description for the article. When it starts with "Opinion:", odds are it's an opinion piece.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • john

      yet here you are... odd

      January 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Particularly the Belief section. It's a pointless as having an Alien Belief section and discussing how people that believe in aliens will influence the vote.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • proud2bsecular

      Thank you! This is the second recent "headline" CNN has posted as "news", asking an evangelical to rock on about how balanced they feel evangelicals are. This kind of make-believe news IS most "news" on FOX, but I really thought better of CNN. Are they targeting a new (fundamentalist) audience? Isn't one FOX enough?

      January 4, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Jim

      Then CNN should just get rid of itself, since basically the entire site is one big opinion piece on how Progressives have the best ideas, and everyone else is an idiot. Or, maybe just dispense with the comments section, since that is certainly the prevailing opinion.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  17. John H

    Ralph Reed? You are seeking the opinion of Ralph Reed? He is an exceedingly corrupt evangelical, with very little in the way morality or ethics.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  18. borisjimbo

    Ralphie, weren't you part of the Abramoff scandal?

    January 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  19. chad

    These people have been basing their vote on religion since Reagan and so far each one has started wars and sent us further into debt. For such "moral" people they fail to realize how immoral the use of force is.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Jim

      Congress makes war, and controls the purse strings – the President can do neither without Congressional approval (well, the Prez can make war for 60 days, THEN he needs Congressional approval). So, let's look at the power makeup of Congress during the Presidents:

      Eisenhower – Mostly Democratic Congress (Repub Congress first 2 years)
      Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter – Democratic Congress
      Reagan – Mostly Democratic Congress (Repub senate for 6 yrs)
      Bush 1 – Democratic Congress
      Clinton – 2 years Democratic congress, 6 years Republican
      Bush 2 – Evenly Democratic congress (first 2 yrs Repub senate; last two yrs Repub Congress).

      So, in every period there was a major war, there was always a Dem Congress, and in the case of Kennedy, Johnson, a Dem president as well. The times of economic slowdown also because of Dem Congresses (because Dems always spend money).

      January 4, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Observer

      FACT: the latest Iraq war was started by REPUBLICANS. It wouldn't have happened if it was up to Obama or the Democrats in Congress.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Jim

      @Observer – No, that's not a fact. Both parties did, and had all the Dems voted against it, it would not have passed. However, 29 Senate Dems, and 82 House Dems voted FOR the Iraq war (but, to be fair, 126 house Dems voted against it). So, that's 111 Democrats who voted for it, which pushed it over the edge, and thus, your statement that Republicans started the war isn't correct.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Observer

      Jim
      "@Observer – No, that's not a fact.your statement that Republicans started the war isn't correct."

      FALSE. FACT: the majority of Democrats in Congress voted AGAINST the war. FACT: 97% of Republicans in Congress voted for the war.

      FACT: if left to Democrats in Congress, the Republicans war in Iraq would never have happened.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Jim

      @Observer – But it WAS left to the Democrats in Congress, and 111 of them voted for the war. I fail to see how you can blame it on the Republicans, when 111 Democrats voted FOR it. It doesn't matter that over 50% of Dems voted against it. Obviously that wasn't enough. Had the Dems NOT voted for it, there would have been no war, it's that simple. Republicans didn't make them vote for it.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Observer

      Jim,
      So you think laws are passed when a MAJORITY of the congressmen vote AGAINST them?

      Left to Democrats in Congress, the MAJORITY voted against the war. IT WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED if left to them.

      IF Obama was president, IT WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED.

      Get serious.

      January 4, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Jim

      @Observer – My reply is accidentally on p16 or 17. Won't let me post the same comment here.

      January 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  20. DoNotWorry

    The candidates themselves show the evangelicals vote religion. What a line up of crazy candidates, all for the evangelicals! Add up the numbers and 75% voted evangelical. Candidate of the day was a search for someone NOT Mormon... and why Huntsman (the best qualified) never got out of the basement in Iowa. What about that 25% corporate vote for someone as destructive as Romney? Another tirade.

    January 4, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.