Stories about moral concerns — beyond the typical ones — prompting some evangelicals to consider voting Democratic in the midterm elections seem to be on the rise.
But will Democrats actually bite into the 81 percent support from white evangelicals that Donald Trump got in 2016?
That’s the big question.
As we noted earlier, the New York Times recently delved into whether white evangelical women might push Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke over the top in his bid to unseat Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
Meanwhile, a group of progressive evangelicals called Vote Common Good is touring the country in a bus and generating a number of headlines in its quest to persuade fellow Christians to abandon Donald Trump’s GOP.
Religion News Service and my local newspaper here in Oklahoma City — The Oklahoman — have given interesting coverage to the group. Vote Common Good has an active media relations team and actually contacted me by email and telephone before the group’s Oklahoma event. However, I was headed out of the state to report on Hurricane Michael in Florida.
I bring up Vote Common Good because NPR’s Sarah McCammon (relevant background about her here) caught up with the group in Texas and has an informative news-feature out today:
On a recent evening in Houston, under the heavy branches of live oak trees, Doug Pagitt stood before a couple dozen people gathered on blue folding chairs on the Rice University campus.
"You've heard it said that to be a true Christian, you must vote like a Republican," he said. "But we are here to be reminded that just ain't so."
Pagitt, 52, describes himself as a progressive evangelical. He pastors a church in Minneapolis and has been traveling the country by bus, preaching a message that juxtaposes Trump campaign slogans against quotes from the Bible.
"You have heard it said, 'America First,' but we are here to be reminded to 'seek first the Kingdom of God,' on behalf of all those everywhere in the world," he said, quoting the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.
Pagitt's organization, Vote Common Good, is focusing on evangelicals and other Christian voters who feel out of place in President Trump's Republican Party. It's an uphill battle, given that more than 8 in 10 white evangelical voters supported Trump in 2016.
Keep reading, and McCammon offers important context on the group’s private funding — nearly $1 million — gives supporters an opportunity to explain their thinking.
But I especially appreciate two things about this NPR report: