Christian reaction to President Bush's election victory has been mixed. While many believers are expressing joy and relief at the election's result, a vocal minority worries publicly that the 'values' discussion has been too narrowly constructed. In a nation where the separation of church and state has been so beneficial for the church, Christians are not sure how to take pundits' proclamations of a new era of political power for the faithful.

America's curious political alliances remain a gray area for Christians accustomed to the Bible's black-and-white certitude. Sitting at the top of each party, wealthy elites call the shots, representing business interests (predominantly Republican) and the entertainment and media industries (predominantly Democratic). But thanks to the democratic process, these elites compete for the votes of millions of ordinary Americans, dependent on them to enact their agenda.

Christians are caught in the middle, presently divided. According to recently released polling data, born-again whites supported President Bush by a 72-27 margin. The contrast was even more dramatic, but reversed, among born-again blacks, who supported Senator Kerry 85-15. Each constituency is vital to its political sponsor's survival. Born-again Hispanics, composing nearly 50 percent of voters in that emerging swing ethnic group, supported Bush 56-44. In general, Christians who vote Democrat tout the government's obligation to promote economic equality, but downplay the political leadership's impact on sexual norms and abortion. Conversely, Christians who vote Republican know well the government's cultural impact. But they frequently brush aside the structural impediments to economic fairness.

The faithful in America have not ...

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