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Race, Religion, and the Republican Dilemma

The church has an opportunity to encourage human flourishing even more.
Race, Religion, and the Republican Dilemma
Image: Elvert Barnes / Flickr

Evangelicals talk a lot about the importance of voting for the right political candidates, particularly ones who will defend life and liberty. Rightfully so.

For many evangelicals, this means supporting pro-life candidates. In 2016, pro-life candidates almost all belong to the same party. This is fine if you believe the GOP represents you and your community. But for many minorities, the Republican Party is indifferent to the issues that affect their communities the most.

The accepted belief about race and presidential voting is that people of color will inevitably vote for a Democrat. Since 1980, the GOP has only received more than 13 percent of the minority vote twice: 18 percent for George Bush Sr. and 17 percent for George W. Bush’s second election.

In response to this reality, some pundits have argued that conservatives should simply concede that they will not receive the minority vote and focus their attention elsewhere. Others argue that the GOP has a lot to gain from actively courting black voters. With racial tensions increasing over the last few years, the racial divide between political parties has become an additional source of tension, not only within politics but in our culture, and even our churches. This fact was made clear to me recently as I have seen several of my conservative, Christian, black friends express interest in Bernie Sanders.

Their attraction to Sanders was not because they wanted “free stuff,” as some critics of Sanders have assumed, but because Sanders seems to be one of the few candidates to take racial issues seriously, and voters generally want their representatives to take their concerns seriously. Of course evangelicals have the option to vote Democrat, but it would be better ...

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