Last week the Washington Post had a very interesting article on faith outreach within the Democrat Party (read the article here). Their basic assertion is that, despite making modest gains in the faith community during the 2008 election cycle, the Democrats may be reverting to their former tactics of neglect and disdain towards people of faith. This would certainly be a disappointment to Jim Wallis, Joel Hunter, and the rest of the Religious Left who are getting comfortable with their newfound role of influence in the White House, but the bigger problem is that of influence. In order to be an influential voting block, both parties must see the demographic as a viable pursuit. If one party or the other doesn’t have a chance at gaining votes they will simply ignore that particular voting block. What we were beginning to see in 2008 was the emergence of people of faith as a competitive demographic, one that both the Dems and the GOP sought out. If the Democrats decide to let the Republicans maintain dominance of Christians–Evangelicals in particular–the potential for influence wanes. Let us hope that both parties will court people of faith in the 2010 election cycle, not for our own power, but for the opportunity it creates to promote the common good.