By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
Washington (CNN) – For many conservative Christian leaders, it was a nightmare scenario: Barack Obama decisively re-elected. Same-sex marriage adopted by voters in some states. Rigorously anti-abortion candidates defeated in conservative red states.
On multiple levels, Tuesday’s election results raised questions about the Christian right’s agenda on American politics, eight years after the movement helped sweep President George W. Bush into a second term and opened the era of state bans on same-sex marriage.
“For the first time tonight, same-sex marriage has been passed by popular vote in Maine and Maryland,” said Robert P. Jones, a Washington-based pollster who specializes in questions about politics and religion.
“The historic nature of these results are hard to overstate,” Jones said. “Given the strong support of younger Americans for same-sex marriage, it is unlikely this issue will reappear as a major national wedge issue.”
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Some conservative evangelical leaders echoed that line. Albert Mohler, who heads the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said on Twitter that votes for same-sex marriage suggested that “we are witnessing a fundamental moral realignment of the country.”
A Tuesday ballot measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state is still pending. In Minnesota, voters rejected a Tuesday measure that would have banned same-sex marriage there.
Thirty-eight states have banned same-sex marriage, mostly via constitutional amendments.
Obama’s victory also raised questions about the Christian right's influence in the electorate.
Though evangelical leaders as diverse as the Southern Baptist Convention’s Richard Land and Christian icon Billy Graham voiced support for Mitt Romney (Graham stopped short of an official endorsement), Obama performed better among white evangelicals than he did in 2008 in some states.
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In swing state Ohio, exit polls showed that Obama got 30% support among white evangelicals. While that’s hardly a victory, it’s better than the 27% support Obama got among those voters four years ago.
Before the election, many evangelical leaders predicted that opposition to Obama over his support for abortion rights, his personal endorsement of same-sex marriage and his vision of government as a force for good would trump reservations evangelicals had about Romney’s past social liberalism and his Mormon faith.
“There is no evidence in voting patterns that President Obama's 'evolution' on same-sex marriage cost him anything,” Mohler said in another tweet Tuesday night.
Obama also narrowly won Catholics, even after the U.S. Catholic bishops waged a rigorous campaign against the Obama administration around the issue of religious liberty. The bishops alleged Obama was forcing Catholics to violate their own teachings by making health insurance companies provide free contraception coverage for virtually all employees.
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John Green, a religion and politics expert at the University of Akron, said Obama’s win among Catholics was partly a testament to the growing Latino demographic.
“Maybe Hispanic Catholics were not as moved by religious liberty-type arguments as by immigration and economics,” he said.
Unlike in 2004, when John Kerry – a former altar boy – lost Catholic voters, the Obama campaign had a robust religious outreach program aimed largely at Catholic and evangelical voters. The effort included videos from Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, a Catholic, talking about their Christian faith.
Obama's success among some religious demographics also illustrated how economic issues, as opposed to culture war concerns, dominated the election cycle.
The defeat Tuesday of two Republican Senate candidates who made national headlines with anti-abortion remarks also raised questions about the Christian right’s power.
In Missouri, U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, who in August walked back his remark that "if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," lost his bid to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat.
Akin’s campaign became a national cause for conservative Christian activists after the Republican Party abandoned the candidate and encouraged him to drop out over his abortion remark.
In Indiana, Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock lost his race against Democrat Joe Donnelly after saying last month that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen.”
Conservative Christians did claim some victories Tuesday night, including helping the GOP retain control of the U.S. House of Representatives and helping elect tea party favorite Ted Cruz as a U.S. senator from Texas.
Ralph Reed, the leader of conservative group the Faith & Freedom Coalition, planned a Wednesday morning press conference to release his data about what he called the enduring influence of “values voters.”
“Preliminary evidence is they turned out and they voted heavily for Romney,” Reed said in an e-mail message Tuesday night.
This just in: Florida has finished counting the votes! McCain wins the state! Ok, now to start on 2012.
Better to go back to 2000 with a Gore win. Imagine how much better we"d have been without Bush Jr.?
A conservative pastor from Arizona stated that someone should pick up a rifle and shoot President Obama. Brass tacks this is you problem with the Christian conservative right of mixing Ceasar with Christ. The Ten Commandments were there for Christ as well as being there for Caiphes. One of them is thou shalt not kill. People bottom line can see this type of hyprocrisy in the conservatives and it always rears its ugly head before, during and after all elections.
Hypocrisy is a two way street. It also say's Thou shall not kill, and yet thousands of abortions happen everyday.
Abortion is not considered illegal, or murder in this country. If you are not happy with this either change the law, or move.
Wow. So the abortion issue just led to the GOP getting a beat down, and you play the dead babies card?? No one cares about abortion. If God thinks it's horrible, he will take the appropriate action later. In the meantime, stop playing God on earth and shut the f-ck up.
God most definitely condones abortion. If it is good enough for him then its good enough for me.
Hosea 9:16 Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.
Hosea 13:16 Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.
Exodus 12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
There are thousands of other examples that reside in the bible, but christians don't read those parts.
The Far Right is OVER in terms of domination of the election process in this country. Their ONE shot was 2010 and they elected a bunch of IDIOTS who spent more time on anti-abortion issues in Congress than on jobs or the economy. There will NEVER be another election in this country like the one we did in 2012, there will NEVER be another Republican primary where the candidates OVERRAN each other trying to pander and go toward the FAR RIGHT. IF they do, then we will continue to find Democrats winning the White House and the Senate and it's quite possible to take back the House in the Midterms.
I hope the religious right is losing influence. Its about time! They have been preventing our country's progress for decades. Separation of Church and State is very important. Go ahead and believe and worship the way you want. Just keep it too yourself. Government is not a business, and its not the morality police either. Mind your own business. Your relationship with God, is between you and God, and other people have the right to have their own personal relationship with God. And If you think you speak for God or on God's behalf, then you definately Dont.
All the whining and wailing form the religious right the sound of a species when it's about to become extinct
It is not Christian Right that lost the election. The neo-conservative, socially moderate Republicans lost this election. Bush fooled us but McCain and Romney did not. Those of us that voted for Romney had to hold our noses. The Carl Rove and Donald Trump types are not our favorite kind of people.
The Christian Right does not support Islamic nation building wars that never end or the rich paying lower taxes than the middle class, which they do when FICA is included. We certainly do not support Keynesian deficit spending foolishness. It is not the Christian Right that supports crony capitalism, Wall Street banks or billions in foreign aid to buy political friends.
The Christian Right is a lot closer to Ron Paul's worldview than Mitt Romney's. We do not mind paying our share of taxes, but we much prefer smaller, more local government. FEMA has proven yet again that trusting big government is very expensive and very foolish. The Christian Right doesn't build houses of sticks on sand and expect the government to provide for us when the big bad wolf blows our houses down. We personally do more and give more than any other group to help the poor. We gladly serve our country but we are not foolish enough to think Iraq and Afghanistan are going to be our friends regardless of how much money we waste there.
Well said, brother!
Why are all these "neo-conservative, socially moderate" Republicans allowing the fascist element to be the face of their party then?
Couple things that happened
1. Socialist muslim Kenyan dude called Hussein managed to get into the oval office not once but twice
2. The terrorists are still out and about (see Ben Gazi). Maybe Hussein is a terrorist plant?
3. Deviants behavior not only made legal but also rewarded (marriage etc)
4. Unborn children killed galore, with FEDERAL money, i.e. some of my tax dollars
5. Cat holic church forced to pay for practices it finds abhorrent e.g. birth c0ntrol
6. Instead of rounding up all the il legals and throwing them back where they come form, they are being rewarded (see DREAM act)
See how far the decay has gone....
Maybe it's time for you to leave. I'm sure you can find some backward country where you would be more comfortable.
Your rhetoric shows how rightly you have been perverted.
Yes, we remember all of the paranoia the first time Obama was elected. Obama's going to take your guns away. Obama will have death panels deciding who lives and dies. Obama doesn't have a birth certificate, is a Muslim and has a secret agenda to destroy America...
In other words, he's black.
1. You're a moron.
2. Bush had 7 years to get Bin Laden and didn't do it. Instead he wasted the lives of American soldiers and your tax dollars in Iraq.
3. Have you ever heard of equal rights?
4. What has any Republican done to change abortion since Roe v Wade? It's legal. Get over it.
Al do polygamists, bestyalists, child-sickos also get equal rights?
im a moron from point 1? Come on, which chrisian country has a president called Hussein?
Your christian god told you to shut the hell-o up and keep it in your pants.
I voted for Romney. Also prevented a buddy who everyone knew wuz supporting Obama from voting by promising to pick him up, leavin him hangin and at the last minute, car trouble.. am I not a genius?
You certainly don't write like a genius.
I won't say you are a moron for trying to equate being gay with bestiality and pedophilia, I'll just go with sadly misguided.
I smell a troll
I thought the Tea Party was only interested in fiscal matters. You comments on abortion and h o m o s e x u a l i t y show that the Tea Party is nothing new. It is only a severely right wing movement within the the Republican party.
Remember, even the innocent people in Sodom and Gomorrah perished
to put it another way, take a bushel of good apples, throw in 4 bad appels, and wait. one by one the good ones go bad.
Be very very scared.
Tea Patriot – The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was r a p e and inhospitality, not h o m o s e x u a l i ty. Genesis 19:4-5 says that ALL of the townsmen came to r a p e the angels. There is no way that every man in Sodom and Gomorrah was a h o m o s e x u a l. In addition, Genesis 19:8 states that Lot offered the men his daughters in place of the angels. Why would Lot offer his daughters to a group of h o m o s e x u al men? This passage is about r a p e and inhospitality, not h o m o s e x u a l i ty.
In addition, Ezekiel 16:49 (NIV) states, "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."
Or to put it another way, your deity is willing to murder 50 apples as long as at least 1 or 2 are bad. Strange.
Genius? i doubt it. Idiot no doubt.
my diety will kill 50 apples? I was talking about how things work in the real world.
this is not just a Christan country , this is a great country with many different beliefs . I am a proud atheist with a phd in psychology i don't look at religious views, i look at freedom and if you want to believe in your magic man in the sky that is fine just don't push it on me or others. Being gay is not in any way the same as a person who likes children being gay is not a illness sorry to tell you that. You religious freaks need more help then any gay person i have ever talked to.
You just said that even innocent people died in S&G. Your deity seems to be more concerned with a high body count.
Didn't you forget to complain about all those girls daring to get an education, and the ending of slavery?
Nobody said a peep about #6 above. OK, firget about social issues. How about the following problems
7. the federal govt is too big and too intrusive, tells us what size our toilets should be. we should cut it down to size right?
8. the government punishes success. How to you expect to get out of a recession with this kind of thinking
9. the trail lawyers sue for anything (cofee to hot anyone?) causing a major drag on the economy
Government is big partly because there are too many lawyers willing to sue over the size of toilets. Official regulations are intended to cut down on the drag to the legal system that such lawsuits generate. Besides, wouldn't you expect the world's largest economy to have a large bureaucracy?
What "punishment of success" are you talking about? The mega-rich having to settle for a super yacht instead of something the size of a cruise ship?
The Religious Right didn't get into politics overnight, and I expect it won't get out of politics overnight, either. It is not really an organized group, since it has no real leader or even group of leaders. Also, making decisions on the basis of rationality is actively frowned upon by Christians (think, "leap of faith"), so Christians don't lightly or easily abandon behavior that they believed they are engaging in for religious reasons.
The "Christian Right" had incredible moral authority in the Civil War with the anti-slavery stance, however within a few generations it was doing little but taking revenge on it's own society for asking religion to remain a private matter.
If left/progressive is now generally defined as readily embracing cultural novelty and right/conservative is now generally defined as embracing a status quo born of traditional values, then wouldn't the anti-slavery Christians have been on the left/progressive side given their argument was to abandon this abhorrent, time-honored southern tradition? And even if this wasn't the case, wouldn't the left/progressive v. right/conservative still indicate a left/progressive view among abolitionist Christians given a support for strong Federal action targeting southern States claiming it was a "State's Right" to practice slavery?
No, Journey. It was a very liberal reading of the bible that brought us the Christian involvement in the abolitionist movement. The slavery side had far more verses to use in proving their argument, but the appeal to compassion over the strict letter of scripture has always been the mark of liberal churches. Take the similar issue nowadays with Christian acceptance of gays. Only liberal churches approach this with any real compassion for gay people.
I sure hope so. People can believe what they want, but they do NOT have to right to legislate what the rest of us can and cannot do!
Sure they do. Every time they make a law telling you what you can not do without a legal penalty, they are controlling what you do and what you think.
Don't kid yourself: Christians, non-Christians, Athiests, Gays, the Green Movement....every person has an agenda that may or may not align with yours; but you can bet that if they are in a position of power, they WILL attempt to enforce their agenda.
I use the British style for quotes. Apparently you're not familiar with this style.
Only religion threatens to punish people for what they think. Laws are democratically obtained, even ones that protect minorities, protect against discrimination, and protect people's right to worship as they choose. What the Religious Right fails to recognize is that many, many Christians believe that God is OK with the gay lifestyle, family planning, interracial marriage, evolution, and a host of other topics. What right do you have to interfere with their religious beliefs? Last time I checked we have freedom of religion, not freedom to practice just one variety of a religion.
Romney lost because that is what his God intended
Plus understanding that their is a reason why we're here.
It's "there", not "their". You religious nits are barely literate. We know why we're here, and it's not due to some mythical creator.
The punctuation goes inside the quotes, dummy, and I'm not here because of a mythical creator, I'm here because of a real creator. Religion requires a little faith. Atheism requires a lot of hopelessness.
I use the British style for quotes. Are you familiar with this? Probably not.
Took you long enough to find the right "reply" link.
... or is that the British style too?
You're probably not even British.
Don't need to be British to use their punctuation style. Don't need to be a Brit to know the difference between "there" and "their".
Whatever. Atheism still sucks. If you want to believe that your every thought and action is the inevitable result of the physical laws of the universe, that's your loss.
Why is it a loss to know the truth and not believe in superstitious nonsense?
You'll never know I'm wrong, unless you're wrong.
Wow, what a profound statement!
The best part is that it's true!
Atheism sucks. Even someone with only a little bit of faith is far better off.
Why is faith good?
Well, there's eternal life.
also meeting our creator.
There is no eternal life and there is no creator. There is zero evidence for either one and no valid reason for either to exist. That's just the way it is, jub, get used to it.
"There is no eternal life and there is no creator. There is zero evidence for either one and no valid reason for either to exist. That's just the way it is, jub, get used to it."
Isn't it funny how you just say the complete opposite thing as jub and then provide no evidence for your stance yourself? Don't criticize someone unless you're prepared to make some kind of evidence based argument. It's like two kids arguing over who has the tougher dad.
If we can exist as intelligent, living things, than there being a creator is not that much of a stretch. The alternative is that our every thought – what we think of as free will – is all predetermined by the physical laws of the universe (including my beliefs). Throw in the atheist belief that your life is temporary and there is no hope, then you get a pretty crappy worldview.
There is absolutely no evidence to support eternal life, or a god. There is evidence to the contrary though. So some people find that to be enough to make "absolute" statements. It is NOT however saying the opposite and also not having evidence. One side definitely has more evidence than the other especially in regard to eternal life (that being. life that has no beginning or end).
'also meeting our creator'
Why would you want to spend time with something that is so evil?
I believe that God is good, and I don't blame God for what people do that contradicts the Bible. What I don't understand is why atheists bother arguing with perfectly happy people and trying to convince them that their faith, hopes, and lives are as meaningless as theirs, when they believe that they will soon return to the oblivion from which they came.
I don't argue against what you believe, I argue against what you do with that belief.
@Damocles. Really? My faith has provided me with a worldview that emphasizes charity, forgiveness, and hope. What's wrong with that?
Why do you need faith to do what's right? Are you so weak-willed that you need faith to do the right thing?
Nothing at all, although I would ask why you need a deity to be those things. Are you afraid that you would be a psychotic lunatic without the calming influence of a deity? If so, then by all means latch onto your belief with all your might if it keeps you from harming another.
I am charitable, tend to forgive others most of the time and have hope for many things. I do not need a deity to do these things.
You can be a great person without God, but I have hope for eternal life with God, and I've experienced enough to justify my faith. I don't just blindly follow what I've been told – I've contemplated my beliefs from every angle I can think of.
Again it seems like the only reason why you do these things is because of some belief in an afterlife.
I believe that I was created by God, have a job to do, and have a life in heaven awaiting me. Of course the teachings of Jesus influence what I think is important. I also believe that my free will is a divine gift, not a delusion put into my head by the laws of the universe. Atheists telling me to give up my faith and hopes based on what little we think mankind has accomplished scientifically is not at all compelling.
So you want to feel special. That's cool, everyone does. How many people does a deity need to put on a planet to 'do a job' as you put it? If the job is to convert everyone it seems like the best way to go would have been to put exactly 1 person on the planet.
what's the problem? God prevented a diaper wearing cult member from being president. Isn't that a good thing?
The Christian Right had no political significance at the national level for at least 35 years. How they managed to hijack the talking points of an entire political party is beyond me but I suspect that lesson has already been learned.
Talk to ronald reagan.
Why can't people keep their religion to/among themselves instead of trying to shove it done others' throats?
For the same reason that people can't keep their opinions to themselves.
Thank you Rachel. Freedom of religion also means freedom FROM other people's religion. Most of the opposition to abortion choice and gay marriage is because it is against THEIR religion. Obviously, those who are in favor have different religious views. Opposing a mosque or a temple opening in your neighborhood only means you are for freedom of your own religion and your own speech, not everyone's. Hypocrisy looks bad when held up to the light.
Religion is like hitting a child, at what point does it become good ? on one hand you have the kid getting hit with a bat on the other the fathers hand. In religion you have the WestBoro Baptist church ( evil ) on the other side you have people pretending to be kind and performing rituals and brainwashing their kids.
ITS NEVER GOOD!
Robert Brown hes a card, but cant handle his liqueur
Why do bible thumpers think quoting and old book proves anything, i could quote ANY book it doesn't make it true.
Well, I have decided to start a new religion. We will worship Babui the Pig God and bacon shall be our bible. Spread the word!
that's most likely already been done back in the middle ages. They worshipped nearly everything that walked the face of the earth.
I don't understand this bacon craze.
If you want to spread the word wouldn't something like peanut butter make a better bible? How about Swiss Cheese? It's already "holy", after all?
One thing I have to say to all of you "GOD FEARING" morons! This is what your god planned. Accept it and move on.
Perhaps you are correct. But calling people morons dilutes your point.
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.