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The Party Faithful: How and Why Democrats Are Closing the God Gap
by Amy Sullivan
Scribner, Feb. 2008
272 pp., $25

Amy Sullivan has apparently won her argument. Or at least she's no longer the lone voice crying out in the wilderness for Democrats to find God. Four years ago, Sullivan's jeremiad was everywhere. "Until professional Democrats get over their aversion to all things religious, they will continue to suffer the political consequences," she wrote in the Democratic Leadership Council's magazine, Blueprint. Her June 2003 Washington Monthly article, "Do the Democrats Have a Prayer?" was one of the election's most-cited analyses, and Sullivan repeated her call in just about every outlet possible.

What a difference four years makes. Religion has been a major presence in the 2008 presidential campaigns, and Democratic Party officials promise it will play a significant role at the convention.

Sullivan, an American Baptist who describes herself as an evangelical and a liberal, is now nation editor for Time magazine and author of The Party Faithful: How and Why Democrats are Closing the God Gap. She spoke with Christianity Today about her book, the current Democratic candidates, and what she thinks will happen in November.

You begin your book by mapping out the history of the Democratic Party's relationship with evangelicals, highlighting the rise of the secularist revolution and of the Religious Right. Can you talk about the key turning points in the Democratic Party and in evangelicalism that led to the "God Gap"?

One of the turning points was the rising importance of religion as a political factor.

This happened right after Watergate, when people realized they needed to know more about president than just his policy positions. Watergate ...

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