I’ve been telling the national media for years now that unlike Iowa Christians, South Carolina Evangelicals are a diverse lot, particularly when the candidates have similar positions on social issues.
I’ve also said that within Evangelicalism in the Palmetto State there is a Movement Conservative element that is more self-conscious and to a greater extent see themselves engaged in a culture war versus a biblical but more worldly Rotarian Evangelical group.
But, at the Bob Jones University precinct in Greenville, the aggressively social issue candidate Rick Santorum eked out only a 15 vote victory. The finally tally at Greenville 27 was Gingrich 31%, Santorum 34%, Romney 18%, and Paul 17%. An impressive showing amongst religious conservatives for a guy whose adultery led the presidential debate two days before.
The combination of a desire to draw a sharp contrast with the incumbent president and hatred of mainstream media were factors in the Gingrich win among the hard core. It was as if even the strictest South Carolina Evangelicals were saying: “The war is on. The bullets are flying. We are pinned down on the beach and you want to know about the commander’s personal life? Get back to us later on that…if we survive.”
But another clue may be found in the words of a popular Christian catch phrase found on automobile bumpers all across South Carolina. That phrase? “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.”
- Newt Gingrich Wins South Carolina (caffeinatedthoughts.com)
- Gingrich Credits Palin for South Carolina Boost (sarahpalinblog.typepad.com)
- Political Reporter Jack Fink: Gingrich’s S.C. Win ‘Changes Everything’ (dfw.cbslocal.com)
- A Close Look at Newt Gingrich’s Landlside Victory in South Carolina (whitehouse12.com)
- Santorum Will Remain in the Race Regardless of Where He Finishes In South Carolina (whitehouse12.com)
- GOP Race Turns to New Terrain in Florida (tampa.cbslocal.com)
His areas of expertise are research, communications, politics and public affairs. He is a former member of Gov. Carroll Campbell's economic development staff and the staff of the Business & Industry Political Education Committee (BIPEC).
A native of Greer, Dr. Smith lives in Leesville with his wife Kristin and their three children Stephen (14), Elizabeth (11) and Margaret (8). He is a member of First Presbyterian Church (ARP), Columbia where he has served as deacon, Sunday School teacher and editor of First Pres Magazine. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC where he chairs the Academic Affairs and Student Committee and is Chairman of the Board of ARP Magazine.
Latest posts by Oran Smith (see all)
- Evangelicals in South Carolina: Culture Warriors vs. Rotarians - January 22, 2012