A strange thing happened to religion on its way to extinction. It may turn out that declaring God is Dead may be premature. Very weak, certainly, but not yet a goner. The most interesting development in the death watch has been the disintegration of the Evangelical Voting Bloc. According to a fascinating article in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, the Christian Conservative movement has become disillusioned both with President Bush and its own political leadership. New leadership is gravitating toward environmental and social justice issues, David D. Kirkpatrick reports in "The Evangelical Crackup." One oddity of this sudden development is that the three leading Democratic candidates for President, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards, are all more full-throated in their religious avowals than the lead Republican candidates. Being a Mormon is no help for Mitt Romney among the Christian leaders. Fred Thompson is pretty casual about his belief, if any. Rudy Guiliani, with his two divorces, fondness for gays, and challenges as a dad, drives the Evangelicals nuts, even as he seems to be winning their votes. Not surprisingly, Democrats sense that they can pick up a lot of votes from the Evangelical Christians, who are clearly drifting from the GOP. Also complicating our stereotypes was a story last Saturday by Anthony B. Robinson, former pastor of Seattle's Plymouth Church, recounting how Mars Hill has taken over a Belltown club for a new congregation appealing to 20-somethings. Mars Hill is now probably the largest congregation in Seattle, and it is a fascinating variant that one might call urban evangelical. Its main appeal is to young single men, drifting through their 20s and in need of some good rock and roll, advice on how to create a resume, and some simple, Bible-inspired rules to live by. The church waves off such divisive issues as homosexuality and likes to get as far from the suburbs as it can, lest their divisive values-politics get injected into the congregation. All of this makes the Tim Burgess candidacy especially interesting as a cultural barometer in Seattle. Burgess, a liberal, is open about his grounding in Biblical values, calling himself "a faith-driven, values voter." He really makes Seattle secularists aware of the complexities of people of faith, as neatly captured in a recent Danny Westneat column in The Seattle Times. Burgess's opponent, City Councilmember David Della, has been arguing that Burgess is out of synch with Seattle's real values, partly because of his open religious beliefs, forcing voters to face up to the complex reality of individuals, as opposed to stereotypes, who mix religion, values, and politics in everyday life. The more crude Della's attacks become, the more enlightened we seem to get about a group of people unfairly lumped together in mental simplifications during the Culture Wars.