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Crucial decision

Evangelicals know better than to stay home on Nov. 7

Issue: "Double trouble," Oct. 21, 2006

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is 86. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 73. Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy are both 70. Stephen Breyer is 68. David Souter is 67.

The senators elected next month are likely to cast votes on replacements for several of these. And yet, pundits and pollsters are predicting that evangelicals and conservative Catholics will stay home or even vote Democratic in November because of the predatory perversion of disgraced and exiled Mark Foley.

On Feb. 1, 1993, The Washington Post ran a story that described evangelicals as "poor, uneducated, and easy to command." The Post retracted the description the next day, saying that it lacked a factual basis, but readers caught a glimpse of the big media's stereotype of a faith-based voter.

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The same stereotype seems to be motivating coverage of center-right religious voters post-Foley, for it assumes that large numbers of them will react emotionally and without consideration of the consequences of a turnover of the Congress to the Democrats.

Will Missouri evangelicals and conservative Catholics really vote for Claire McCaskill over pro-life Jim Talent? Will Buckeye Christians stay home in disgust and discard Mike DeWine's strong pro-life vote in favor of giving hard-left Sherrod Brown the chance to obstruct future Supreme Court nominees? Even in Pennsylvania, where Democrats are running a generally pro-life Democrat, Bob Casey Jr., a vote for Casey is a vote to put pro-abort Patrick Leahy back in the chairman's seat of the Judiciary Committee, from which he will at least impede future Supreme Court nominees who do not bow to abortion.

Most evangelicals know the score, and know that a pro-marriage, pro-family agenda will be shattered if they sit on their hands in November. Contrary commentary is just a recycling of the old prejudice expressed openly in 1993 and underground-but not eradicated-ever since.

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