The Party Faithful: How and Why Democrats Are Closing the God Gap

Amy Sullivan, Author . Scribner $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7432-9786-8

Senior Time editor Sullivan says “trying to understand American politics without looking at religion would be like trying to understand the politics of the Middle East without paying attention to oil.” Her fresh look at the “God gap” reveals the chasm's depths and offers a bridge across. Sullivan, an evangelical, discusses party process as the Catholic and white evangelical vote for Democrats declined sharply in the 1980s. The story of this shift is as fascinating as it is timely. Starting in the 1960s, she traces the Second Vatican Council's impact on Catholics and the rise of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, and the effects of these changes upon politics. Sullivan focuses with special sharpness on John Kerry, “a case study in how to mishandle religion during a political race” and challenges the conventional wisdom “that the right was religious and the left wanted religion scrubbed from the public square.” Evangelical and political conservatives may be related, but they are not synonymous, says Sullivan; Clinton, after all, is “a genuine Southern evangelical.” Sullivan's account argues persuasively and optimistically that “politically liberal and theologically orthodox” evangelicals can be brought back to the Democratic Party. Must reading for Democrats. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/24/2007
Release date: 02/01/2008
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4165-5419-6
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-7432-9787-5
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