Our Need to be Liked by Politicians

This Christianity Today article titled "Can We Come to the Party?" reveals how Evangelicals and their leaders are often carried away by their desire to be influential in the political process. Here is the way that the article starts:
"I know you can't endorse me, but I want you to know that I endorse you." Nothing solidified the alliance between evangelicals and the Republican Party so much as that 1980 comment from Ronald Reagan to 2,500 pastors.

"You can imagine what that did for caring, traditional-values people," James Robison, who organized the event, said later. "He endorsed us. It was a big impetus."

Reagan, who was divorced, did not attend church, and gave less than 1 percent of his income to charity, hardly delivered on any of evangelicals' expectations as president, William Martin noted in a CT article after Reagan died. "What Reagan did give evangelicals, in great abundance, was symbolic affirmation in the form of photo ops. For many, that was enough."

Evangelicals didn't care that Reagan wasn't like them. It was enough that he liked them.
Did you catch that phrase "symbolic affirmation"? I have to admit that I was sucked into this whole mess.. often buying the rhetoric and believing that politicians were actually like me and had values similar to mine.. and I voted that way as well. I liked that these politicians really seemed to "like" me.

In hindsight, voting for people who seem to "like" us is pretty foolish. Better to vote for people who we believe will make a good mayor, congressman or president than to vote for someone who "likes" us.


  1. Fascinating, Bob. I can't recall voting for anyone because he liked my group. Perhaps because I don't strongly identify with any particular group (other than American). I've always voted for who I thought would do the best job rather than who I thought was the "best" Christian or who said they liked Christians the most.

    I'd vote for an atheist, a Muslim or a Wiccan in a heartbeat if I thought she had the qualifications to be a great leader.

  2. I didn't realize he was such a cheapskate. I appreciate that it's nice not to be scorned and dismissed by politicians, since we have such a thorough example of it this election. It's comfortable and lulling to have them say they like you, or identify with you, or just don't hate you.

  3. True, but people that have contempt for us folks who "cling to our guns and religion" probably aren't going to do a very good job representing us.

    And that, my friend, is my last word on the subject until after the election. I'm all burnt out on the topic.

  4. As with Brian, I have never voted or supported a candidate or party because they "like me." In fact, I have never supported any party at all.

    KB said, "Better to vote for people who we believe will make a good mayor, congressman or president than to vote for someone who "likes" us."

    Ironically, that is the same logic that is guiding me this election.


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