By Michelle Boorstein
What will happen to religious conservatives after this election?
Much has been made about the tea party’s and the GOP’s lack of focus this year on classic religious right issues – abortion, traditional marriage, religious freedom, among others. It’s not clear that tea partiers or GOP leaders really disagree with the religious right on these issues, but haven’t prioritized them during an election season when Americans are losing their jobs and their homes.
This week Watergate-figure-turned-evangelical-leader Chuck Colson floated the idea of a third party, saying religious conservatives “have no political home.”
“The status quo is simply culturally and fiscally unsustainable, and we aren’t helping matters by allowing our votes to be taken for granted,” he said in a video message on the site for his Colson Center. “The system needs shaking up.”
I mentioned something about this today in an earlier posting, but my hunch is that the organized religious right is in a period of reconstituting. Many of the old generation have passed away or faded from prominence, so it can be hard to gauge the shape and influence of today’s religious conservatives. Their leadership is disparate, diverse and more spread out vs. back in the day.
We did take a cursory look today at some benchmarks that show, well, that we need to take a closer look when we have more polling and financial data. Public records show, for example, that the Family Research Council’s PAC raised significantly more money during this financial cycle than during 2008 (nearly three times as much), and that Ralph Reed’s new Faith & Freedom Coalition reported it spent $210,000 on political advertising in one week last month alone.
Yet there is evidence that such groups and issues are less visible this year.
Are there other religious conservative organizations, people, coming to take their place? Are the resources going into the tea party? Does the economy’s impact on giving make it hard to decipher much based on donations?