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Jay, I know you were at the annual Religion Newswriters Conference the other day and may have seen first-hand pollster John Green‘s startling-to-some news that after all the hyped up effort by Democratic Party officials to go after evangelicals, evangelicals are sticking with Republicans. It appears that the numbers are virtually the same now for Obama as they were for Kerry at this time in the 2004 election cycle. Apparently this is true even though the Washington Post informed us a day earlier that one Obama operative is trying to figure out how to use Christian music to get votes.
As I’ve said before, I don’t do solicited advice for any candidates: I prefer to give them all unsolicited advice though. My thoughts for the Democrats: don’t let the tail wag the dog on this religion issue. One of the reasons about half of the electorate likes your candidates is because they often say that the agenda of the religious right is a bad one; they sometimes remind us that politicians aren’t supposed to impose their religious views on everybody else. That resonates with the real Constitutionalists that are so often a part of Democratic Party victories. On the other hand, people of faith have been voting for Democrats for years based on the belief, which no pundit or spin doctor had to tell them, that at least since the Sixties, Democrats have been talking a lot more than Republicans about the kind of issues Jesus championed in the Sermon on the Mount. (I always found it curious that as Republicans went ga-ga over posting the Ten Commandments, I never heard anybody want to post the thoughts of that peacenik, poverty-opposing preacher on the mountain.)
John Green did point out, however, that Latino Protestants and Catholics are a bit more inclined toward the Democratic Party this year. Could this perhaps be the result of the newly articulated distaste for immigrants by the Religious Right? Could this be because (to bring this up again) the “Values Voter Conference” had a number of well-known anti-immigration advocates included CNN’s Lou Dobbs prominently presented?
And, Jay, I have known you long enough to know that you don’t use the kind of rhetoric I cited in my last post that came from speakers at last weekend’s conference (and the quotes are accurate). I just think it is important that people right, left and center condemn vitriol when they hear it.