Religious values will play role in presidential election
But this year, with no viable alternative, evangelicals seem to have plumbed the man's heart and made peace with what they found. As one Orange County, Calif., pastor said to a reporter: "I'm for Romney. It's certainly not because of his religion. It's more in spite of his religion."
Many other evangelical voters will overlook Romney's religious label and focus on the practical applications of his faith.
Like them, Romney opposes abortion, supports family values and embraces small government and low taxes. Similar to Jews, evangelicals vote against their class interests. Many well-to-do Jews, steeped in tikkun olam — the notion of repairing the world through justice and mercy — vote Democratic.
They believe Democrats should promote social welfare even if it means higher taxes, curbs on business and stringent environmental policies. Middle-class evangelicals, by contrast, many of whose incomes have suffered under the ascendancy of free-market policy, support Republicans. They like the party that backs the American trinity: free men, free markets and the freedom for every citizen to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
So when polls and pundits pronounce that religion isn't a factor in the 2012 election, don't believe it. Religious labels may be passe, but the religious values that inform who's taxed, what's regulated, how jobs are created and when or where we help those in need are more important than ever.
Diane Winston teaches media and religion at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School. She is the author of "Red Hot and Righteous: The Urban Religion of the Salvation Army."
- Lawrence and Windsor won't trump Utah...
- My view: Balancing personal conviction and...
- Can Hollywood keep the faith in faith-based...
- Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Re-enactment...
- Letter: Policy disagreement
- Mary Barker: The Romney I may have voted for
- My view: Circuit Court's Obamacare decision...
- Letter: Outdated climate
- Mary Barker: The Romney I may have... 69
- Lawrence and Windsor won't trump Utah... 64
- Stuart Reid: Translations of religious... 61
- In our opinion: History will remember... 46
- Dan Liljenquist: Religious liberty and... 46
- Letter: Breeding hate 45
- Letter: Policy disagreement 37
- In our opinion: Use market forces and... 32