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If You Love Jesus, Vote For Obama

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If you love Jesus, post an Obama sign in your front yard before it's too late. It'll do wonders for your witness.

I learned that and other tips from a meeting in Seattle last weekend focusing on how to save evangelical faith in America. Despite what the media and the Religious Right would have you believe, American evangelical faith is in trouble and evangelicals know it.

Evangelicals aren't attracting or keeping converts. Their association with far right politics is one of the reasons.

This gathering of mostly Pentecostal Christians had a good number of Obama supporters. One told me that when she put an Obama sign in her yard, a friend expressed amazement.

"All this time, I thought you were a Republican," the friend said. "I wasn't accepting your invitations to do things because I knew you were an evangelical. I thought you'd have all those Religious Right opinions."

"I've been a Democrat all my life," the evangelical retorted.

Who knew?

If you love Jesus and the Republican Party, follow up on that yard sign by voting for Obama. Then urge all your Jesus-loving friends to do the same.

Because if McCain wins this election, the Religious Right's hold on the Republican Party is going to be even stronger. In forcing McCain to choose Sarah Palin as his nominee, evangelical power brokers were able to do what all the torturers in Vietnam couldn't. They were able to convince McCain to put his own self interest above the best interests of his country. If McCain wins, the Religious Right and Sarah Palin will take the credit.

And the Republican Party will be pulled deeper into an extremism that serves only a small minority of Americans.

If you love Jesus and want his teachings to have greater sway in America, vote for Obama.

After more than 20 years during which the Religious Right has been the dominant ethical and moral voice in the public square, the reputation of American Christians is at an all time low, especially among young people. As the political ambitions of the most right wing Christians have soared, the influence of Christian teachings on popular culture has plummeted.

As long as men who get power and money from making American Christianity seem extremist, bigoted, rigid and mean-spirited can stoke the culture wars and increase their sway by distorting Christianity, they'll keep doing it.

A victory for Obama will kick them out of the spotlight.

For anyone who loves Jesus, the Republican Party or American values, that would be a positive development.

Christine Wicker is the author of "The Fall of the Evangelical Nation: The Surprising Crisis Inside the Church." Her website is www.christinewicker.com