Religious Conservatives Brace for Future Under Obama

With its coalition crumbling, the "religious right" searches to redefine itself.

ByABC News
November 6, 2008, 6:02 PM

Nov. 6, 2008— -- After Tuesday's Democratic sweep, Christian conservatives across the country are worried about the fate of their movement.

One of them is Albert Mohler, head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who posted an anguished essay on his Web site today, saying, "the fight for the dignity and sanctity of unborn human beings has been set back by a great loss."

Evangelicals have been a political and social force with tremendous clout, having found an ally in the Bush administration. On Tuesday night, they watched as red states turned blue, Democrats ousted Republicans and their agenda crumbled.

"We're going to have some setbacks here," Mohler said. "We're going to have some real days of disappointment. I think we need to be prepared for that. We're going to find ourselves in a situation where our voice is not going to have the kind of resonance that it once had in Washington."

Evangelicals' hold has disintegrated from four years ago, when groups lauded President Bush's re-election as a "moral mandate." Christian conservatives will now have to transition from having one of their own in the White House to a new president-elect, who, while openly religious, supports abortion rights and opposes a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

"We must pray that God would change his mind and heart on issues of our crucial concern," Mohler wrote on his Web site, urging supporters to hold fast to their beliefs on moral issues.

"I think there's a real threat here that the Republican Party could decide to say to conservative Christians, 'there's the door, we're going to move in a different direction,'" Mohler said. "It just ought to remind many Christians we have placed too much confidence in the political process in the first place."

But other evangelicals point to the passing of gay marriage bans in three states Tuesday as signs that their movement is not dead. Conservatives poured energy and emotion into passing Proposition 8, overturning the state's gay-marriage law, which spurred major protests overnight in California.