The U.S. Government's shutdown left many Americans jaded at the government's ineffectual political breakdown and partisan division. The feeling for many is that the current state of Washington politics represents the makeup of the U.S.—sharply divided along relatively traditional left/right lines.

Reality is different, though. The map that most people would color blue or red is actually remarkably … purplish. A survey from NBC news and Esquire magazine found that a majority of the country (51%) is in the political "middle"—a category usually estimated at around 20%.

The survey concludes that this chewy "center" stands for these issues:

  • Personal liberty - Essentially libertarian, against gun control, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, in favor of decriminalizing marijuana.
  • U.S. Isolation - The center leans against the U.S. "being the world's policeman," is war-weary, and for cutting defense spending.
  • Wealth Reform - Most want taxes raised on people who make more than $1 million a year. But they also trend "anti-regulation," in favor of oil drilling without government intervention.
  • Personal merit - It's concluded that the center is in favor of perceived fairness, whether in marriage (they're pro-gay marriage) or college admissions (they're against affirmative action).

What does that mean for pastors? Don't assume anymore that your congregation breaks down into traditional Democratic or Republican groups. Those labels have failed.

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