The Common Good

So, about those "Evangelicals..."

In his column last week, Sojourners chief Jim Wallis talked about his frustration with the perennial misuse of the word "evangelical" by various media to describe folks and ideas that, in his view, and that of many of us who self-describe as evangelicals, don't bear any resemblance to what we understand that term to actually mean.

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Below is a compilation of recent media reports where the word "evangelical" is invoked. When you read these, evangelical brothers and sisters, do you recognize yourself in how the word is used and defined? Or does it ring false to you and your understanding of what "evangelical" really and truly means?

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SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Bachmann urges evangelical voters not to 'settle' on nominee

Evangelical voters have been influential in recent Republican presidential primaries, comprising almost half of those who turn out to vote, according to polling analysts. They wield significant power in Iowa, site of the nation's first nominating caucuses, where 60 percent of participants in the 2008 Republican contest described themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians.

WASHINGTON POST: 'Values voters' still motivated by gay marriage, abortion

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), spoke about what "values voters" and evangelicals want in a presidential candidate as Republicans court a key constituency in the GOP.The media have given the impression that the economy will far outweigh social issues in the 2012 elections, Perkins said, but "that's not the case with evangelical voters." In fact, he said, social conservatives don't see a dichotomy between social and economic issues, listing health care, tax policy, and jobs as "not just fiscal issues."

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Perry to court evangelicals at Falwell's Liberty University

Gov. Rick Perry makes a pilgrimage this morning to Liberty University that could prove a turning point in his outreach to evangelical voters. Conventional wisdom was that Perry would have no trouble grabbing a big chunk of the religious conservative vote from Rep. Michele Bachmann and others presidential contenders. It's a crucial segment of the GOP electorate, especially in early contests of 2012, Iowa and South Carolina . But Bachmann, Rick Santorum and others have made sure that voters don't forget that in 2007, Perry signed an executive order requiring HPV vaccinations for teenage Texas girls. And experts on the religious right say Perry has explaining to do, on that and other issues.

USA TODAY: Obama is 'ramping up his God talk'

President Obama is "ramping up his 'God talk' for the re-election campaign," says political scientist John Green, director of the University of Akron's Bliss Institute of Applied Politics. But Green and two other experts who track religious rhetoric in presidential politics speculate this strategy to connect with evangelical voters may not work for Obama

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