The God Gap refers to the copyrighting of God by the Republican Party and the alleged “unfriendliness” of Democrats to religion. Sullivan writes,
Today, Democrats find themselves in an unusual situation, with a surfeit of faith-friendly front runners. If they want to court and keep new religious voters, however, this time the conversion will have to be party-wide.
Sullivan provides a thumbnail history of Religion and Politics in America. According to Sullivan, prior to Jimmy Carter presidents didn’t talk much about God beyond the occasional generic reference to “Providence.” Carter was, she said, the first president to wear his evangelicalism on his sleeve. However,
While Carter was the right candidate for the new politics of values, his party was rapidly moving in the other direction. Educated élites, particularly on the left, increasingly placed their faith in the tangible power of political action rather than the unfathomable might of a divine being. And they misread the direction of the country. Far from becoming less religious in a postmodern age, Americans remained strongly devout, with 80% or more consistently reporting that religion was an “important” part of their lives. A schism widened between the people who ran the Democratic Party and many religious believers.
In Sullivan’s history, Democrats deliberately snubbed evangelical Christians while Reagan et al. courted them. She admits that Bill Clinton has a “personal comfort” with religion, but the Democratic Party was disinterested “in changing their approach on abortion to reflect his ’safe, legal and rare’ mantra.” And if I ever meet Amy Sullivan, I promise to ask her to explain how the Dem “approach to abortion” does not reflect the “safe, legal and rare” mantra, because I don’t see how the hell it doesn’t, but for now I want to focus on Sullivan’s main point: Democrats had better get faith-friendly or risk alienating religious voters.