Patrick Hynes

"Our moral values are closer to the American people than the Republicans' are," says DNC Chairman Howard Dean (who, by the way, denounced his faith in Vermont over a dispute about the placement of a municipal bike path.) 

“I think they [Christian conservatives] get the Bible ass-backward, ignoring the most important teachings of Jesus, which place love and compassion above greed and intolerance,” argues Leftist pundit and author Bill Press in his book How the Republicans Stole Christmas.

Shoot, Jim Wallis’ bestselling book on the subject of faith in public life is ostentatiously titled God’s Politics. 

But a strange thing happened on the political Left’s offensive to become the party of God: their image as a “religion friendly” party actually deteriorated in the year immediately following their electoral disaster. 

According to Pew Research Center data from October 2004, just one month before Election Day, 40 percent of the American public saw the Democrat Party as “friendly toward religion.”  That number tumbled to 29 percent by August 2005, almost a full year (and a lot of misquoted Bible passages) later. 

Moreover, as Tony Carnes points out in a recent Christianity Today article, “While overall support for George W. Bush has plummeted, evangelicals remain surprisingly loyal.”

Democrats have some serious decisions to make about the future of their party and its message.  The Democrat Party cannot long stand as one that demands separation of church and state in all -- even symbolic -- matters while at the same time claiming Biblical substantiation for liberal public policies.  They cannot imply John Roberts’ queasiness about Roe v. Wade breaches the “impregnable wall,” as Sen. Dianne Feinstein did during Roberts’ confirmation hearings, while at the same time urge income redistribution because “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:25). They cannot call Republicans “theocrats” for trying to save Terri Schiavo while they also claim John the Baptist endorsed their welfare state when he said, “He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none …” (Luke 3:11).

Just as Democrats are telling voters they are unserious about national security through their over-the-top rhetoric about Iraq, the Democrats’ “God card” gambit demonstrates to the American public that they are not serious about matters of faith in public life.

Patrick Hynes

Patrick Hynes is the president of New Media Strategics, a blog relations consultancy. He is the proprietor of Ankle Biting Pundits and the author of In Defense of the Religious Right (Nelson Current).

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