Religious labels matter less in 2012 campaign
Instead, the race features two Catholic candidates for vice president, and a Mormon Republican and African-American mainline Protestant for president.
Perhaps lucky for all of them, voters care more about issues such as social justice or gay marriage than they do about denominational brands.
That’s particularly true for Republican Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan, who hope to woo evangelical voters that share their values rather than their theology.
It’s a situation that probably would have baffled famous evangelicals such as the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, who used the issue of abortion in the 1970s and 1980s to turn evangelicals into a powerhouse voting bloc among Republicans.
“If you had told Jerry Falwell back in 1980 that by 2012 that there would not be a white Protestant on the ticket — he would have died right there,” said Shaun Casey, professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington.
But the same dynamic doesn’t bother David French of Columbia, Tenn., a blogger at EvangelicalsforMitt.org. He wants a candidate who shares his values, not his theology.
“The real questions are: Is this person pro-life? Are they pro-marriage? Is this person really conservative?” French said. [More]