So a onetime Baptist preacher is running a long shot campaign for the GOP nomination for president in a crowded field when a TV actor who admits he hardly ever goes to church joins the race. Which one does the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s single largest evangelical denomination, appear to get behind? You guessed it… Ethics Daily notes that the tone of an article by the Baptist Press, a news service affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, is much more generous than its coverage of Mike Huckabee, even though former pastor Huckabee once led the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Baptist Press says Thompson’s entry to the race gives “social conservatives another top-tier choice,” for president, even though Thompson has withheld support for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and once lobbied for an abortion-rights group.

And yet God-o-Meter ain’t exactly shocked. After all, Southern Baptist Convention public policy chief Richard Land has already hailed Thompson as a “southern-fried Reagan.” Do Land & Co. see Thompson as their best hope for defeating social moderate Rudy Giuliani, even if he’s not 100-percent behind their agenda? It’s also worth nothing that Thompson has long used Nashville, where the Southern Baptist Convention is headquartered, as a home base. Whatever the reason, with Huckabee still a very long shot, the SBC’s apparent Thompson crush could cause more heartache for Mitt Romney, wannabe candidate of the Religious Right.


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