Justin Ewers of US Snooze & World Report published this interesting bit of selective fact finding/editorializing regarding the surprising shift of self-identified religious voters toward Barack Obama. Here's the link to the original article.
Let's take a look at this in some detail. Ewers claims that the Barna Group's poll shows the junior Senator from Illinois ahead of McCain amongst 18 out of 19 religious groups, evangelicals being the sole group supporting McCain. Barna Group, however, defines evangelicals as only 8% of the American population, a figure that is highly questionable. Defending his methodology, George Barna says his pollsters required an affirmative answer to 9 specific questions about religious beliefs before classing a responder as an evangelical. Barna's 9 questions aren't reproduced in Ewers' article, although they are reported on Barna's own website. I take issue with Barna's criteria; Barna believes that self-identifying as evangelical or regularly attending an evangelical church is meaningless. Personally, I give more credence to a person's selection of church, although the other questions also cause me some concern. Regardless, the whopping 8% of the population that Barna considers "authentically" evangelical overwhelmingly support McCain. Big surprise.
The other 18 religious groups, we are told, support Senator Obama. I find that very hard to believe given: (A)President Bush's convincing victory amongst the religious in 2000 and 2004 and (B)Democrat efforts to demolish any association between themselves and the traditional religions.
Breaking down these groups, Barna reports the following:
Non-evangelical born-again Christians [Barna's criteria for membership in this group is loopy, in my humble opinion] 43% Obama, 31% McCain.
Notional Christians [who, I guess, just call themselves Christians because they don't know what else to say?] 44% Obama, 28% McCain.
Non-Christians 56% Obama, 24% McCain.
Atheists, Agnostics, First Church of Richard Dawkins, etc. 55% Obama, 17% McCain
Catholics [and for argument's sake, I will assume that Barna is lumping in Melkites, Maronites, Greek Catholics, etc. in this category] 39% Obama, 29% McCain
Protestants [generic] 43% Obama 34% McCain
Alright, now that we have the figures, let's put some thought into the reasoning behind them. First, I quibble with born-again, but not evangelical. To my non-evangelical mind, the two are one and the same, separated only by Barna's 9 questions. I daresay some of the folks here at RS professing such beliefs can provide more guidance on this issue. Second, where is Barna lumping the not-inconsiderable Mormon vote? Does he consider them generic Protestants (which they most assuredly are not) or Notional Christians? Either way, the figures do not support the almost unswerving allegiance of Mormons to the GOP. That makes Protestant (generic) and Notional Christian figures questionable. Third, what Catholic neighborhood has Barna been calling, Nancy Pelosi's? Broad segments of the US Catholic population are firmly against Senator Obama due to his embrace of the murder of living infants (that is, his opposition to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act) and his general attitudes toward abortion, and the oft-repeated quote that children are a punishment. Finally, where does Barna lump the small, but growing Eastern Orthodox population? Again, do they figure under Notional Christians, Protestants, Catholics? Most Orthodox would, rightly, object to being lumped under any of those banners.
I must, at this point, drift from analysis to opinion because I neither understand nor agree with the results of this poll. Barack H. Obama is the most pro-abortion candidate ever nominated by the Democratic Party for the Presidency; even Hillary Clinton would have been more moderate. Senator Obama is also the favorite of the LGBT crowd (including conservative in his own mind, Andrew Sullivan) and has indicated that he will fight to overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act. Finally, the junior Senator from Illinois is demonstrably an elitist socialist. He has very little faith in the common American and is hostile to people of faith (the clinging to their faith debacle, the insults to the Muslim community, etc.). This is not a guy who values faith; he uses it only to advance his political career. When his own pastor, whom he valued as a great man of faith for 20 years (or so he said) came under attack, B.Hussein Obama backed over him with a Greyhound bus.
In reviewing the above issues then, I find it hard to believe that any person of traditional faith is willing to support Senator Obama. Evangelicals certainly will not; Mormons either. More traditional Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists generally support McCain and the GOP and I see no reason for that to change given the Democrat's nominee for 2008. Catholics, despite the MSM's love for citing their commitment to social justice, are just plain kidding themselves if they support Obama; I suspect most will either sit home election day or support McCain. Muslims have a recent snub against them by Obama, and will also either sit home election day or vote McCain (Gitmo, Iraq, and the GWOT has turned many of them away from the GOP that they once supported overwhelmingly). The Eastern Orthodox community, while not fond of McCain for many reasons, will support him when it counts. Jews will split, as always, with the Haredi and Modern Orthodox leaning GOP while Reform Jews will back the Dems and the Masorti vote will be up in the air. Finally, liberal Protestants will probably back the Dems, despite their harsh anti-religious rhetoric and support for abortion. Although the above predictions are strictly my opinion, I suspect that they will ring more true in November than Barna's highly questionable poll. Although George Barna's intentions may be good, his data is being used by Ewers and other MSM'ers to build up a wave of support for the Dems that just does not exist in the religious community. In other words, Ewers article is just clever use of questionable statistical data to advance the cause of the Democrat's false messiah. And that alone should turn off any person of faith.