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The survey was conducted for Spectrum by Roger Dudley, director of the Institute of Church Ministry at Andrews University. This is the third election survey of Adventists that Dudley has done for Spectrum during the past twenty years. Complete results from the survey will be included in the next issue of Spectrum, to be published in early December. Students at Andrews University, Southern Adventist University, Union College, La Sierra University, Pacific Union College, and Walla Walla University participated.
ADVENTIST COLLEGIANS SPEAK OUT ON PUBLIC ISSUES
Students in Seventh-day Adventist Colleges and Universities in the United States closely resemble national polls on the eve of election 2008. A web-based survey of the students in six American institutions of higher learning taken during October revealed that:
This is a reverse of 2004 where while 75% did not vote (perhaps because of age), 14% voted for George Bush and only 9% for John Kerry. Not only that, 31% identified themselves with the Republican party compared with 29% who considered themselves Democrats. The largest identification (40%) was Independent. This suggests that some Republicans may have voted for Obama, but it was the Independents who gave him the collegiate victory.
Students were given a list of nine issues and asked to rate their importance from "not important" to "most important." Combining "very important" and "most important," the top three issues were:
Lowest among the choices was: "a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages" (40%).
In choosing the economy, the students reflected the concerns of their elders, but the high choice of human rights and justice seems to be a departure from typical Adventist thinking.
In considering abortion, the students rejected the extremes of "abortion is entirely the woman's choice" (29%) and "abortion is not acceptable under any conditions" (18%) to choose the middle ground: "abortion is acceptable in extreme circumstances such as rape, incest, and threat to the mother's life" (53%). This stance adheres most closely to the guidelines published by the church.
The survey also explored religious practices and viewpoints. For example:
As to how they would self-identify their religious orientation, 24% were fundamentalist or conservative and 22% liberal. The majority (53%) took the middle position of moderate. Religious faith is quite or extremely important to 89% of the students with only 3% saying it was not really important. Finally, 76% said that their religion influenced their voting behavior.
The six colleges and universities that participated were scattered throughout the country, thus assuring a national sample. While selection of the students was voluntary, not random, the findings show that there was a balance between the various poles of political and public opinion.
The good folks over at Faith in Public Life crunched the numbers last night and they show a significant shift in America's religious landscape and its voting patterns.
It would be interesting to see how last night's voting broke down along Adventist lines, not only weekly attendance, ethnicity, and region, but also level of education.
Religious attendance and the so-called “God Gap”:
-- Obama increased his share among all church attendance groups, but he made his greatest gains among voters who attend church more than once per week, narrowing a 29-point GOP advantage (64% - 35%) to a 12-point GOP advantage (55% - 43%). This represents an 8-point increase among a strongly Republican group.
-- Obama won monthly attenders 53% - 46%, while Kerry lost them 49% - 51%, a 4-point pickup.
-- Obama beat McCain soundly among Catholics (55% - 44%), performing better than Kerry in 2004 and Gore in 2000.
-- Among white Catholics, Obama narrowed the Republican advantage from Bush’s 13-point advantage (56% - 43%), with McCain holding only a 5-points advantage (52% - 47%).
-- In FL, Catholics swung from the Republican party to the Democratic party. Obama improved upon Kerry's Catholic performance by 16 percentage points, from trailing by 15 points in 2004 (57% - 42%) to leading by 1 point (50% - 49%) in 2008.
-- In IN, a 13-point GOP advantage in 2004 (56%-43%) disappeared, with Catholics split evenly between the candidates (50%-50%).
-- However, in PA, McCain won Catholics 54%-46%, increasing GOP advantage from Bush’s margin of 52%-48%.
-- White evangelicals turned out solidly (23% of the vote) and strongly supported McCain (75% to 24%), but evangelical support for McCain was 5 points lower than support for Bush (79%) in 2004.
-- In a number of states (including OH, MO, MI, IN, and NC) white evangelical turnout increased over 2004, but this increase did not favor McCain. For example:
-- In NC, white evangelical turnout was up 6 points from 36% to 42%, but McCain’s support (75% to 24%) was down 9 points from the strong advantage Bush held over Kerry (84% to 16%).
-- In OH, white evangelical turnout increased by 5 points (from 25% of the electorate in 2004 to 30% in 2008) and McCain’s support (70% to 28%) was down 6 points from Bush’s 76%-24% lead in 2004.
-- In CO, GOP advantage narrowed by 15 points among white evangelicals, from 86%-14% in 2004 to 71%-27% in 2008.
(PDF of these findings available here.)
There are a lot of folks who like to think they know what's on the minds of "the kids these days." Here are young Adventist college students talking about what in their faith matters.
This is the second of four videos in the "Express Yourself" project - a 2008 Walla Walla University Communications senior project by Adrienne Thompson. Music: "B Minor" by Lanterna.
I stood at the intersection of Magnolia and Pierce Street for four hours yesterday with a sign that said "Vote No on 8 - Unfair and Wrong."
It was an unforgettable experience. I got lots of honks and thumbs up. Some took pictures of me with their camera phones and others waved as they sped through my intersection.
I also got plenty of angry shouts and people giving me the finger. People shook their heads and scowled.
I lost count of how many times I heard people yell, "F--- you faggot!" People threw food and other objects at me. I got spit at twice, once missing me, the second time not.
Standing alone on the island where four lanes meet, I discovered that solidarity stings.
My younger brother is gay. I was thinking about him each time someone yelled "faggot" and flipped me off. My eyes stung as wave after wave of hatred washed over me with the ebb and flow of traffic. Some times I held back tears, other times I couldn't.
People chanted, jeered, yelled, and cursed.
Some people smiled, and their smiles helped me to stand up straighter and hold my sign higher though the muscles in my back and shoulders were burning. When a young woman slowed at the corner, rolled down her window and yelled "thank you", my eyes burned some more.
I wish that I could have been a sponge to absorb the hatred that flew out of car windows if it could have shielded my brother from it all. I wish I could have soaked it up and left their pools of anger dry, but I guess hate doesn't work that way. It breeds in the dark but seems to grow each time it sees daylight.
The thing is, at the end of the day, I was able to go home and put down my sign and return to my wife and wash the spit off my shirt. But my brother can't do that. For him, this is a daily reality. He can't walk away from it.
I think that everybody ought to experience this some time.
Everyone ought to hear the sound of the words Fuck you screamed over the din of rush hour traffic. Everyone ought to know the humiliation of being spit on by a stranger. Everyone ought to experience what it feels like to be the object of raw animosity and ridicule, and for just a little while, everyone ought to be on the receiving end of unbridled hatred.
Because if everyone knew the feeling, maybe, just maybe, there would be fewer people cursing and spitting and throwing things out on the roads of this Christian nation.
Maybe...becuase for the first time as I stood on that island clutching my sign, I recognized the sound of my own voice, yelling, taunting, shouting "Go home faggot." I realized that sometimes I'm the one who curses and screams, and my eyes burned once more.
p.s. this story is not really about Prop 8
The great Interwebs feel more epically amazing when you learn more about the actual structure of our great human network. It's one thing to sit at a terminal and think "hmm, this is pretty cool." It's another to see a gigantic, brain-like visualization of the entire network, and to realize the truly intricate and complex nature of our civilization (Image courtesy of Lumeta Corporation, lifted by me from a 2006 Power Point presentation by Steve Harnish).
I'm sitting in a room full of science students as we listen to Ramstein (Important part of the atmosphere -- I can't describe that part in words), munch on pizza, pay lip-service to homework, and -- most importantly -- give play-by-play attention to the incoming United States presidential election results. Half a dozen laptops line the table, and people periodically call out "only 96 points to go!" or "ooh! McCain's up two percentage points!" as if the standard deviations on the way to the final result actually matter.
[img: student laptops
History is so much fun when it's happening right now.
I'm wearing a sticker that says "I Voted." I'm sure there was no record-shattering great youth turn out at the polls, but we did all give Garret a very hard time for skipping out to do *cough* homework *cough* (It actually involved girls and motorcycles :-P).
I'm not going to take the time to talk about why I voted for Obama, except to point you to my year-old posts on first impressions. I showed up at the polls after walking for half a mile with an Artificial Intelligence textbook in hand. Checking in with my student ID (I'm still unclear as to whether I'm technically supposed to have a Michigan license to vote here... My license is still from Illinois), I settled in to a booth with my ballet.
This was my first time voting. Looking over the ticket, I recognized a few names from the cramming I did this morning, but only opted to specifically vote for three or four of the candidates. I was going to leave it at that when, at the last second, I decided to go with the Democratic ticket.
I am far from partisan. The economy and our civilization is far too complicated for me to pretend that I, as a junior math major, have the slightest clue how it should be run. Libertarian, Republican, or quasi-socialist, I don't know what the correct approach is. I can have my impressions, I can come to conclusions (Based all too much on the opinions of those around me). I don't think I'm any less ignorant than most voters, I'm just more honest about it. All I know is that (Like most intellectuals) I lean liberal, supporting gay marriage and the woman's right to choose abortion. In a word, I have more in common with Democrats.
But why go for the whole ticket if I'm no where close to a partisan zealot, far from a lemming? Because I recently read, in a book about complexity theory, about a mathematical/computational model in the social sciences that concluded that, while in one small village an issue-by-issue pure-democratic vote lead to the most happiness for all citizens, in a multi-village system -- in a system such as our nation -- a divided two-party system worked much better.
It's just an over-simplified model (I think it's the 1957 Economic Theory of Democracy by Anthony Downs), but I decided that maybe it implies that me choosing the straight ticket -- supporting a party as a whole instead of just in part -- was the best alternative. And, while I don't trust it to be true, at least it's an attempt at a scientific model, instead of the random blabberings of some television host, popular pundit -- who, influencial though they be, hardly bring their art into the realm of science.
Alas, we are far off from having truth in the matter. The 5,000-year-old experiment of civilization is still in progress:
"In a two-party system, it is rational for each party to encourage voters to be irrational..." -- Wikipedia
And so we are. One day -- one day politics will actually make sense. Until then we're stuck with reckless rhetoric and hyperbole. It bugs the begesis out of me, as a student of science and philosophy, where we actually apply critical thinking care if our statements are true, not just convincing.
All you have to do is enter your name and type in a comment - no sign ups - just straight talk, express!
This the the third of four videos in the "Express Yourself" project - a 2008 Walla Walla University Communications senior project by Adrienne Thompson.
Music: "D Song" by Bonobo.
An election day prayer from Rabbi David Seidenberg, a Conservative and Renewal leader of the NeoHasid.
With my vote today I am prepared and intending to seek peace for this country, as it is written:
Seek out the peace of the city where I cause you to roam
and pray for her sake to God YHVH, for in her peace you all will have peace. (Jer. 29:7)
May it be Your will that votes will be counted faithfully and may You account my vote as if I had fulfilled this verse with all my power.
May it be good in Your eyes to give a wise heart to whomever we elect today and may You raise for us a government whose rule is for good and blessing to bring justice and peace to all the inhabitants of the world and to Jerusalem, for rulership is Yours!
Just as I participated in elections today so may I do good deeds and repair the world with all my actions, and with my work which I pledge to do today on behalf of all living creatures and in remembrance of the covenant of Noah's waters to protect and to not destroy the earth and her plenitude.
May You give to all the peoples of this country, the strength and will to pursue righteousness and to seek peace as unified force in order to cause to flourish, throughout the world, good life and peace and may You fulfill for us the verse:
May the pleasure of Adonai our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us, may the work of our hands endure. (Ps. 90:17)