Not every declared "believer" delivers on the expectations of evangelical voters. Even the "sainted" Ronald Reagan raised taxes, signed an amnesty measure and named two justices to the Supreme Court -- Sandra Day O'Connor (now retired) and Anthony Kennedy -- who voted to preserve the abortion status quo. And yet to this day, most evangelicals believe Reagan was one of our greatest presidents, though he rarely attended church. Carter regularly attended church and even taught Sunday school, but he came to be reviled by most conservative Christians.
For evangelicals, the ideal presidential combination would be someone who has a deep faith and is willing to apply it to social, economic and defense issues. It shouldn't matter whether Mormons believe in baptizing the dead, what undergarments they wear, or that they believe God was once a man like us. Neither should it matter that an evangelical Christian believes in Armageddon, unless, of course, he (or she) wants to advance that day by dropping a nuclear bomb on our enemies, as Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened to do to the West. Now THERE is someone who combines his religion with political power, which should scare us all.
The Bible, the guidebook for evangelicals, teaches that there are two kingdoms. Presidential candidates are running to head up a part of the earthly kingdom known as America. The job as head of the other Kingdom is taken. The duties and responsibilities of each should be kept separate.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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