The American youth look for genuine qualities leaders
Bush's openness about religion connects them
Bush’s unabashed candor about his Christian faith is hitting the mark among the young conservative Christians as he campaigns for a second term.
In contrast to Bush, John Kerry, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, is a practicing Catholic whose religious views are less a part of his public bearing.
"You wear it in your heart and in your soul, not necessarily on your sleeve. ... It's not something you ought to push at people every single day in the secular world," Kerry told the Washington-based Interfaith Alliance in January.
Four years ago, when George W. Bush was asked in his first campaign for the presidency in a Republican debate which political philosopher he most admired.
“Jesus Christ?he replied, “Because he changed my heart?
His answer caused a stir. Christian conservatives cheered, but political experts wondered whether his response was wise, or perhaps less than presidential.
The young Christians are happy with the President who is a man who walks with the Lord and talks about his openness of faith. On college campuses and in youth-oriented organizations across the nation, the ranks of Christian conservatives are growing. Many say they are inspired and emboldened by Bush's example.
"President Bush is a Christian man, and he's not afraid to talk about it," said E. Paige McAleer, president of the Dallas County Young Republicans.
When it comes to their faith, "a lot of people are uncomfortable talking about it. President Bush has broken that barrier by not being afraid in a public setting to talk about how a higher being has affected his life," said Shelby Ricketts, also a member of the local Young Republicans. "That makes him attractive to a lot of young people."
Studies and polls show that a substantial number of college students are expressing strong interest in religion, along with a more socially conservative outlook.
Enrollment at conservative Christian colleges and universities is growing rapidly. Even on secular campuses, membership in religious clubs has skyrocketed.
At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "On Thursday nights, you can't find a large lecture hall that doesn't have a religious group using it," said Dr. Christian Smith, a sociologist and director of the National Study of Youth and Religion.
Campus Crusade for Christ has chapters on more than 1,000 campuses - up from about 300 in the early 1990s, said Nathan Dunn, the group's communications director. There are 200 chapters in Texas. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has chapters on 560 college campuses, including about two dozen schools in Texas.
While Bush appears to benefit from the increased interest in religion among college students, the political implications of the trend are unclear.
In the last decade, exit polls have shown a growing gap between weekly worshippers, who tend to vote Republican, and less frequent worshippers, who tend to vote Democratic.
But an increase in religious values among young people doesn't necessarily mean more votes for Republicans. Indeed, 70 percent of Southern Democrats say religion is very important in their lives - compared with 55 percent of Democrats outside the South, according to the Pew Research Center.
There are lot of diversity of views when it comes to the social issues. Gay marriage, as well as homosexuality in general, is condemned. The Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family are pushing hard for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Students show different view of point. The Christian conservative sees politics through a Christian conservative lens, They take the Bible as the literal truth of God, including belief in creationism. But some Christians expressed more moderate views on social issues.
Robin Lovin, the Cary Maguire professor of ethics at Southern Methodist University, said that the biggest different today from a decade ago is that students are more concerned about public expression of their beliefs,"