With all the pundits predicting the decline or even demise of the political influence of the religious right, there are some important statistics about young Evangelicals that have been overlooked. Clearly, there is a diffusion of enthusiasm when there’s not a Republican candidate the Evangelicals can identify with (the jury still being out on Huckabee). Still there are important trends to keep in mind from the Pew Research Center’s September report.
Support for capital punishment remains high:
- 72% among white evangelicals ages 18-29
- 75% among white evangelicals over 30
The Pro-Life message is actually getting stronger among young Evangelicals:
- 70% of white evangelicals ages 18-29
- 55% of white evangelicals over 30
favor “making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion,”
As a faithful Catholic, I disagree with Evangelicals on capital punishment which is an offense against the dignity of the human person and defeats the penitential aspect of the justice system. Still, these figures demonstrate that the reservoir of conservative values is not declining among the core of the religious right. Furthermore, the opposition to abortion is actually gaining significantly among young evangelicals.
In other words, disillusionment with President Bush and the Republican lineup for 2008, is NOT the same as a retreat on the essential values of religious conservatives.
This is something that traditional Catholics can celebrate.