Religion usually plays an important role in U.S. election campaigns. Not so in the 2012 presidential election: while Christian organizations are campaigning, candidates Obama and Romney are trying to avoid religious endorsements.
In the US election campaign there is hardly any talk about God. Unlike in previous elections, the two candidates for president, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, hardly ever make their faith an ie. Much to the chagrin of white evangelicals in particular, who make up about a quarter of the electorate. They fear that abortion and gay marriage, as well as other ies of morality, could take a back seat.
Religion and politics are closely intertwined in the United States. A good three-quarters of U.S. Americans describe themselves as Christians, and about half say in surveys that religion is "very important" to them. And so it is hardly surprising that presidential candidates usually like to tell of "conversion experiences". Barack Obama affirmed during the election campaign four years ago that he was a professing Christian who believed "in the saving death of Jesus Christ and in the resurrection".
Different in 2012: in current campaign, Obama talks little about his piety. The confessions in 2008 did not bring him too much either. Only 26 percent of white evangelicals voted for Obama at the time. From the incumbent's perspective, evangelicals are "not reliable," religious scholar David Gushee told National Public Radio. Even under optimistic scenarios, Obama can probably count on only a small portion of the evangelical vote in November because of his endorsement of legal abortion and gay marriage.
Evangelicals view Romney critis
The Christian electorate in the USA is divided. Catholics vote predominantly for Obama, according to the Public Religion Research Institute; among black Protestants, the proportion of Obama voters is as high as 95 percent. White evangelicals, on the other hand, are reliable Republican voters. Along with the Mormons, they are considered the only religious group that clearly backs Romney. According to a Pew Research Center poll, Romney has the support of 74 percent of white evangelicals.
Romney also knows, however, that as a Mormon, he is viewed critically by many evangelicals. Campaign is a tightrope walk for him. He avoids details about his faith, but rather speaks vaguely of Judeo-Christian values. This signals to evangelicals that Romney shares their values, said public relations specialist Mark DeMoss on "Religion News Service". With that wording, he doesn't get caught up in "religious doctrine and theology".
Christian organizations campaign
Churches are not allowed to engage in partisan politics in the U.S. In the presidential election, however, neutrality is not always taken so seriously. Several Christian organizations mobilize voters. The Faith and Freedom Coalition, for example, says it has had 25 million election brochures printed and distributed in more than 100.000 churches are to be distributed. According to reports in The New York Times, the association has compiled data on 17 million "conservative religious voters" in 15 states. It wants to use phone calls, emails and letters to urge the association to vote. Two million home visits planned.
Evangelicals would have to go vote, evangelist Franklin Graham thinks. There are serious differences between the two parties, he writes on his website. The Republicans advocate the "sanctity of life" and the "biblical definition" of marriage. Democrats disrespected the right to life and drummed up support for same-sex marriage. It's clear that America is heading toward a divine judgment of punishment, the preacher said.