Volume 26, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2006
David P. Gushee, Justin Phillips
Moral Formation and the Evangelical Voter
A Report from the Red States
THE STRONG SUPPORT OF EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS FOR PRESIDENT George W. Bush contributed significantly to his reelection in November 2004. This was cause for celebration in some quarters and despair in others. It has led to an avalanche of attention to the perennial issue of the relationship between faith and politics, the role of "moral values" in determining evangelical voting patterns, and the growing political visibility and power of evangelical Christians in the United States. This essay is written by evangelical Christians who currently reside in the western part of the "red state" of Tennessee. Its purpose is to shed light on several dimensions of evangelical engagement in contemporary American public life. First, we assess what is actually known about the voting patterns and motivations of evangelical Christians in the 2004 presidential election. Second, we consider the moral vision that animates the most visible conservative evangelical activists and organizations. Third, we consider alternative evangelical political/ethical stances that are being pursued today. Fourth and finally, we move to the normative ethical level, suggesting the contours of an evangelical political ethic in the U.S. context.