The EFM Feature

Mike in Utah writes:

I would be interested in hearing your reaction/take on this article in the New York Times….Basically, is there really a split between young evangelical folks and older folks?

My view is that this portion of the story speaks volumes:

The Harris brothers, 19-year-old evangelical authors and speakers who grew up steeped in the conservative Christian movement, are the creators of Huck’s Army, an online network that has connected 12,000 Huckabee campaign volunteers, including several hundred in Michigan, which votes Tuesday, and South Carolina, which votes Saturday.
They say they like Mr. Huckabee for the same reason many of their elders do not: “He reaches outside the normal Republican box,” Brett Harris said in an interview from his home near Portland, Ore.
The brothers fell for Mr. Huckabee last August when they saw him draw applause on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” for explaining that he believed in a Christian obligation to care for prenatal “life” and also education, health care, jobs and other aspects of “life.” “It is a new kind of evangelical conservative position,” Brett Harris said. Alex Harris added, “And we are not going to have to be embarrassed about him.”

Bluntly, I don’t think Governor Huckabee pits young evangelicals against old ones. Though there are exceptions, his support seems to come less from the young per se than from the fiscally liberal. Of course, there can be a correlation there: The younger you are, the less time you have had to learn about how the economy really works, so you may be more inclined than some older folks to think it would be a great idea to ban smoking or spend tons of money on art education — both ideas Governor Huckabee has endorsed.
And believe me, I’m not going after the young here — I count myself among them. But I can still be young and admit that I don’t have the life experiences that, for instance, my dad does. I think that in many cases — especially if you haven’t studied some sound economics — it takes life experience to see that massive government interventions into the economy, whether staged from Little Rock or Washington, don’t work, no matter how compassionate they may sound.
So, put demographics aside when assessing the Huckabee phenomenon. That’s not the issue. The issue is that generally speaking, his supporters either care exclusively about social issues, or they care about fiscal issues but don’t understand that there’s nothing compassionate about the kind of big government he instituted in Arkansas and would like to bring to Washington.
Of course, I don’t disagree with the Harris brothers that conservative evangelicals need to do more than simply oppose the same old things — “gay marriage,” abortion, etc. We’ve called for a new approach in this regard and written about it at some length; we call it Evangelicalism 2.0. But that’s not what Governor Huckabee is. He’s Evangelicalism 1.0 (pro-life, pro-marriage, etc.) plus a liberal Democrat’s dream record on higher taxes, government programs, and the like — with the rhetoric to match. He’s not a full-spectrum conservative, and my sense is that most of his supporters aren’t, either — young or old. Either that or they don’t know just how bad his record and his divisive rhetoric are.

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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