Bill Murchison

B-b-but … what about all those Christians trying to take over America?!! The ones the left is always warning us against, with their elaborate plans to substitute the Bible for the Constitution. Most Christians, it turns out, turned their backs on the Republicans a few weeks ago and now feel "happy" about life as they envision it under quasi-Democratic leadership.

So says the Pew Research Center, reporting this week that 68 percent of U.S. Christians -- including 56 percent of those belonging to white mainline churches (Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, etc.), 60 percent of white Catholics and 84 percent of black Protestants -- enjoyed the Democrats' KO of the Republican Congress. This includes 41 percent of white evangelicals, members of the famous and dreaded "Bush base." The big issues for those Christians who were polled: Iraq, the economy, "values," terrorism.

It may take a while for the news to sink in with some who have warned against the erosion of Mr. Jefferson's celebrated "wall" between church and state. The news, in fact, is no news. American Christianity is far more complex than it often comes across in breathless reports about parents who admonish their kids: Ain't no monkeys in y'all's family line, just good ol' Adam and Eve in that there Holy Bible. (That faithfully transmitted Christianity is at the very least an intellectually reputable proposition is something you won't get orthodox secularists -- e.g., Richard Dawkins -- ever to concede, but that's a topic for another day.)

In a land of liberty, diversity of viewpoint even among those wedded to the theological view of life comes naturally. Evangelicals seek more public space for religion and more respect for its essentiality. Mainliners look kindly on environmentalism and the ages-old fight against poverty (both of which phenomena capitalism addresses better than government, but you rarely read of that). To the extent that evangelicals and mainliners, with their varying emphases, eavesdrop on each other's conversations, both are likely to learn something.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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