Except this time, the brushstrokes are broad. In trying to figure out how on earth Rick Santorum has captured the evangelical vote, we receive yet another intolerant gift from the NYT:
After more than a century of widespread antipathy between Catholics and evangelical Christians, a Catholic with Italian immigrant roots from the industrial Northeast has emerged as the favored presidential candidate among evangelicals, even in states he lost over all, like Ohio and Illinois. On the eve of Louisiana’s primary on Saturday, Mr. Santorum had won a plurality of the evangelical vote in 9 of 16 states, according to exit polls by Edison Research.
“Santorum represents a game-changer,” said D. Michael Lindsay, the president of Gordon College, a Christian school near Boston, and an expert in evangelical voting patterns. “His candidacy has the potential to reshape conservative political alignment, securing once and for all evangelical support for a conservative Catholic in public life.”
Mr. Santorum has, in fact, performed far better with evangelical Christians than with Catholics, who have preferred Mitt Romney, a Mormon, in virtually every state. Through a critical reading of the data, Mr. Santorum’s base of evangelical Protestants and conservative Catholics could be seen by cynics as a coalition of zealots, held together by intolerance.
Seriously? In order not to appear too prejudiced, here’s the follow-on:
By another way of thinking, however, his candidacy offers proof of a growing tolerance on the part of evangelical Christians, a willingness to shed ancestral religious prejudices.
Hmm. Which one’s first, the chicken or the egg? What’s funny is the “zealot” reference is never negated. Oh, those evangelicals are more tolerant of the other zealots now. Not that they’re not zealots, y’all, because they are. Papists!