Inside Obama’s God Ops

Barack Obama is not giving up on faith-based voters. While polls seem to show voters stuck in same pattern as 2004, despite the Democrat’s persistent outreach and God talk, the campaign is redoubling its efforts and rejecting suggestions that the Palin Effect has caused them to bail on the religious community.

Obama’s two top lieutenants in faith outreach came out to address dozens of reporters at the annual Religion Newswriters Association conference in Washington late this afternoon to pitch the campaign’s new Faith, Family and Values Tour, which will launch next week with aides and representatives for the campaign (including pro-life Catholic Doug Kmiec) doing grass-roots evangelizing for Obama in community centers (neutral sites–no houses of worship) and homes. The Tour will continue for weeks in most of the key battleground states.


The briefing with Josh DuBois, Obama’s National Director of Religious Affairs, and Shaun Casey, the Wesley Theological Seminary prof and leader of Obama’s evangelical outreach, was notable in itself, in that many of the journalists in the room had been trying for months to reach DuBois and others with no success. The Obama campaign has had an extraordinary grass-roots outreach effort, but has not made communicating that a priority, and that may have begun to sink in. DuBois also wanted to directly refute a report from Time magazine correspondent Amy Sullivan, who told the gathering a day earlier that the Obama campaign was cutting resources to religious outreach because they felt it was not paying dividends. “That is just absolutely not true. It is actually 180 degrees the other way,” DuBois said.


He acknowledged that the faith outreach may not have been as responsive to the media as they could have been, but said they started from scratch after the 2004 debacle, and have gone further than any other Democratic campaign in recent memory to attract religiously-based voters. They also have done far more than the McCain camp in this regard, but of course they have to. (The McCain campaign was invited repeatedly to the RNA gathering, but declined to send a delegate; DuBois and Casey accepted at the last minute.)

On the issue of the campaign’s success, or lack thereof, drawing evangelical voters in particular, DuBois argued that the jury was still out on the numbers, and suggested Obama could still draw some of them, especially among the younger generation. Casey added that while “the plural of anecdote is not data,” his listening tours in West Virginia and other places provided evidence that “something is afoot among young college-age evangelicals” who are attracted to the Obama platform. Will they climb aboard? Check back Nov 5.


What the campaign is clearly NOT doing, however, is wasting a lot of time trying to convince committed Palinistas to defect. DuBois said they are focusing on faith-based voters who have a variety of concerns, “not necessarily on those voters who are going to vote on one or two issues”–notably abortion and/or gay marriage. The single-issue folks “are not necessarily in our universe of persuadables.”

He took pains to say he and the campaign respect those voters, but said Obama and the faith tour was looking chiefly at believers with a broader agenda “because Sen. Obama’s values line up with moderate people of faith in all religious traditions…They line up well on so many key issues” He said Obama’s support among this faith group is increasing, and cited a Quinnipiac poll this week that had Obama up by nine points over McCain among Catholics.


Perhaps the unspoken question is what will happen to the Democrats’ faith outreach if Obama loses. Many in the party clearly have suspicions as to whether all this effort is worth it. Will the party continue to change a polarized religious community, to try to make the party safe for believers again? Or will they throw up their hands and retreat to base camp?


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posted September 20, 2008 at 1:39 pm

I figure Obama is a tough sell with his record on religion and Rev. Wrights “God Damn America” diatribes. Obama stands diametrically opposed to what most Christians believe. Jesus never said to look to the Caesar to do good works for you. Jesus called us to give of our own free will not to look to confiscate through legalized thievery the goods of others to fund our good deeds. Jesus never would have supported the killing of innocents and the casting off of the elderly and sick for the convenience of the young. Jesus also called us to are better angels not or bitter same cynical ones. Obama and his plans are those of the faithless. He runs on hope yet tells us we are hopeless. His brand of bastardized Christianity will not appeal to those in Jesusland. His brand appeals to those for who Christ was a ten pound weakling with a way with words.

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Little Bear

posted September 20, 2008 at 6:03 pm

Oh, my, oh, my! And this is what you call being “Christ-like” Mael?
If you don’t like what Obama is stating—don’t vote for him. But remarks like this do not clarify the situation at all. A “bastardized” Christianity is hardly what Obama is trying to sell. He is not trying to go out of his way to reach the one issue Christians—e.g. those who think that “Abortion” should be the only issue. But for those who believe that Life-issues do not end at Birth—he does have something to offer. I am not planning to vote for Obama. But in dealing with all candidates—let’s be fair and let’s deal with the issues, and let’s avoid the unsubstantiated clap-trap.

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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted September 20, 2008 at 6:39 pm

I have read accounts of Barack Obama as senator in Ill. There he clearly supported–not just abortion-on-demand, but also infanticide lest abortions become too complicated with extra doctors brought in. The accurate story of his despicable actions (including his being caught in blatant lies to try to make the issue go away) are on many Christian and Catholic sites.
If America votes for such a creature to be its president–then Rev. Wright is right–“God Damn America” for America will deserve to be damned.

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posted September 21, 2008 at 1:52 am

When those of you on the Radical Far Right stop talking to hear yourselves rant then come and say something intelligent, I will listen. The lives of our families are in jeopardy because of bad business practices by “Christians” who honor profits instead of the prophets.
How godly is it to put people out of work, cancel medical insurance, cut programs and pensions for the working men and women and to reward the people who are on “Cooperate Welfare”?
How Christlike is it to torture and imprison people of other faiths because they may be a threat (real or imagined) to our security. Or to spy on your citizens because they have a name that sounds like it may be Islamic?
What Would Jesus Do? He would cast the lot of you out of the temple.
Those who truly live in Christ, are not condemning Obama, they are praying for him. They are not dragging the name of either candidates through the mud and making false witnesses of themselves, they are praying that our country gets back on track. It is the choice of each of us to vote as we see fit. It is not the choice to speak with anger or with malice, for God will not hear the prayers of the unrighteous, nor those of the slanderer.

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posted September 21, 2008 at 11:09 am

I think neither candate is good for Are Country,it
is to bad that we do not have a candate for the people

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posted October 6, 2008 at 11:50 pm

As far as I’m concerned THE ONLY ISSUE THAT MATTERS in this election is whether or not the candidates believe that Jesus Christ was born onto this earth, that he is their (each candidates) personal savior, and that each individual, each family, each state……..THIS COUNTRY AND THIS WORLD…………will fail without Him as the primary focus!
I don’t know the political facts like a lot of other people do……I wish I did so I could argue them, but I know something bigger and far more important: I know that I love Jesus…….Jesus loves each of us……….and if we put a leader in the seat of Commander-in-Chief that doesn’t love Jesus, then we better pray that the second coming of Christ is Nov. 5th, 2008!

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