As a result, 79 percent of white evangelicals voted for Romney on Tuesday. That's the same percentage that Bush received in 2004, and more than Senator John McCain received in 2008. The evangelical vote was 27 percent of the overall electorate -- the highest it's ever been for an election.
Their support wasn't enough. Not only did Obama win soundly, but four states voted to allow same-sex marriage.
Mohler blamed the loss on a "seismic moral shift in culture." Americans' values are indeed changing, but more seems to be at work here.
First, evangelicals' size is a limitation. While white evangelicals comprised a quarter of the electorate, other religious groups that lean Democratic have grown substantially. Hispanic-American Catholics, African-American Protestants, and Jewish-Americans voted Democratic in overwhelming numbers. Additionally, the "nones" -- those who claim no religious affiliation -- are now the fastest growing "religious" group, comprising one-fifth of the population and a third of adults under 30. Seven out of 10 "nones" voted for Obama.
Second, evangelicals' influence is waning. Conservative Christian ideas are failing to shape the broader culture. More than 3,500 churches close their doors every year, and while Americans are still overwhelmingly spiritual, the institutional church no longer holds the sway over their lives it once did. The sweeping impact of globalization and the digital age has marginalized the church and its leaders.
Conservative Christian leaders often blame America's so-called secularization, but as Peter Berger of Boston University argues, "Modernity is not necessarily secularizing; it is necessarily pluralizing. Modernity is characterized by an increasing plurality, within the same society, of different beliefs values, and worldviews." Evangelicals once presided like chairmen in America's political boardroom, but they must now sit down with others at a common table to dialogue and search for common ground.
Third, evangelical leadership is wanting. A quarter-century ago, Christian mobilization efforts were rising, Christian advocacy groups were sprouting, and charismatic Christian leaders were popping up in every corner of the country. This is no longer the case.
Politically influential pastors like Jerry Falwell and D. James Kennedy have died, James Dobson retired, and Pat Robertson has been relegated to the fringes of his own community. By any reckoning, few charismatic figures are able or willing to fill these voids.
The leadership vacuum became painfully obvious during the Republican primaries, when 150 "high-powered" evangelical leaders, including Tony Perkins and Gary Bauer, met behind closed doors in Texas to determine which candidate should receive their endorsement. They chose Rick Santorum, but in the South Carolina primaries a week later, New Gingrich and Romney split two-thirds of the state's evangelical vote.