Beliefnet
God-O-Meter

Everyone knows that the Christian Right is split many ways over who to support 2008; now there are signs that those tensions may be escalating into a rhetorical civil war. The Washington Times reports this morning that Moral Majority co-founder Paul Weyrich, who last week endorsed Mitt Romney, is alleging that the National Right to Life Committee’s endorsement of Fred Thompson yesterday was basically a result of payola:

Paul M. Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation, said the endorsement “makes no sense,” and speculated that it had been motivated by money.
“I think in all probability the Thompson people were engaged with the National Right to Life people in financial dealing,” said Mr. Weyrich, who has endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination.
“In the past, the Republican Party has funded National Right to Life, and while the committee can raise money on its own, it needs funding” from outside sources.

The Thompson campaign and National Right to Life deny the allegations. But in God-o-Meter’s mind, the squabble illustrates an important development in the ’08 race: Christian Right endorsements for Republican candidates aren’t nearly as bulletproof as they used to be. When Pat Robertson announced his support for Rudy Giuliani last week, other Christian Right activists quickly denounced the Christian Broadcasting Network chief for putting power ahead of principle. Does God-o-Meter believe that avoiding denouncements from certain Christian Right leaders has become as important as landing endorsements from certain other leaders in the movement? Not, yet. But a dig from Weyrich is enough to drop Thompson’s GOM rating a peg.


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