It was a simple commercial, with Mike Huckabee posed in front of a set of scandalously empty white bookshelves that, when framed just right beside a Christmas tree, formed a glowing cross behind the candidate.
And, lo, the former Southern Baptist pastor told the voters: “Are you about worn out by all the television commercials you’ve been seeing, mostly about politics? I don’t blame you. At this time of year, sometimes it’s nice to pull aside from all of that and just remember that what really matters is a celebration of the birth of Christ and being with our family and our friends. I hope that you and your family will have a magnificent Christmas season. And on behalf of all of us, God bless and Merry Christmas.”
This caused a firestorm among the political elites who symbolized the year’s biggest trend in religion news ”” the revenge of the infamous “values voters” who, apparently, remain alive and well in church pews across the heartland.
But will the Republican Party win this “pew gap” contest again? That was the question that dominated the Religion Newswriters Association poll to determine the Top 10 religion news stories in 2007. There were plenty of new signs that the so-called religious right exists, but that it isn’t a monolith after all.