Thursday, November 20, 2008

WMCs not all in GOP camp

During the past several decades, it has seemed that U.S. Christian evangelicals have been on a Rapture-like ascendancy. Not only were mainstream churches losing members, but mega-churches blossomed from coast to coast. Mega-churches raised cash and raised hell for The Lord (their close personal friend), damning to hell all unbelievers, secularists, Democrats and artists. They bought up bushels of Republican politicians and, sometimes, entire communities. Colorado Springs, for instance, and the neighboring Air Force Academy. "Attention Zoomies! You're all Christians now! Or else!"

Look how the mighty have fallen. All it took was eight years of Bush and Cheney and John Ashcroft ("cover that nekkid statue!"). War and torture and economic collapse, all done with the support of your local mega-Christians. In fact, it was Married White Christians (WMC) who voted overwhelming for Bush twice and even voted for that non-churchgoing divorcee John McCain. Meanwhile, the rest of us voted for the guy with the brains and the plan, not to mention a loving marriage with an accomplished wife and two fine children. He goes to church, too.

Not all WMCs are GOPers, even in Wyoming. Chris and I have been married more than 26 years, with nary a divorce between us. We're Christians, too, in thought and deed, although we sometimes fall prey to cursing Bush on TV. We're white, too, northern European and Irish Celts, skin white where the sun don't shine but speckled with freckles where it does. We're White Married Christians in one of the most Republican of states. Yet we're Liberals, and damn proud of it.

Many of our Repub neighbors, though, bet on the wrong horse. They're WMCs and, according to columnist Kathleen Parker, they're a vanishing breed and that spells doom for the GOP. Parker used to be reliably pro-Republican, and maybe she still is, but once she wrote that scathing column about GOP Veep candidate Sarah Palin, the hate-filled screeds from conservative Christians started filling up her e-mail in-box.

Didn't seem to faze her, though. Today's column in the local paper spelled out the obvious:

The evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.

...three long-term trends identified by Emory University's Alan Abramowitz have been devastating to the Republican Party: increasing racial diversity; declining marriage rates; and changes in religious belief.

In Wyoming, marriage rates have remained fairly consistent. As of 2006, 53 percent of households are headed by married couples. Wyoming ranks third in the nation in that category. In 2005, Wyoming ranked 7th in the nation with 9.4 marriages per 1,000 people. But if having half of its households headed by married couples makes Wyoming third in the nation, what are the stats in the rest of the country? In this state, 5.8 percent of households are headed by a single female with children under 18 (2006 figures). That makes Wyoming 49th in the U.S. So most states have more -- some many more -- households with single moms. And Wyoming's single-mom stats have risen 13 percent since 2005 -- a pretty dramatic increase.

Wyoming's not a particularly religious state. It's nothing like the Deep South or neighboring Utah or the Okie Bible Belt. One map I saw shows Wyoming as a state with less than 50 percent of the population declaring any religious affiliation. The state's residents tend to be independent that way, although they still mindlessly vote Republican.

It must be the white person factor. Wyoming's 2006 stats showed us with 88 percent white persons (not Hispanic). So, Wyoming has quite a few married people and a good number of self-declared Christians and a whole bunch of white people. That's how you get 66 percent of the population to vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Still, 33 percent of the populace voted for Barack Obama. Chris and I weren't the only ones voting for hope.

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