Religion and the presidency | Arkansas Blog

Monday, June 30, 2008

Religion and the presidency

Posted By on Mon, Jun 30, 2008 at 6:18 AM

Brummett wades into theology. Do you prefer Barack Obama's "expansive" view of Christianity? Or does the pinched James Dobson/Mike Huckabee view -- with its heavy attention to abortion and sexual matters -- appeal more? And will voters really be mobilized on this ground this year?

As it happens, Jeff Greenfield in Slate is covering similar ground and saying that Obama is making some headway with evangelicals. Referring to a former Huckabee supporter, Steve Strang, he writes:

Will Strang vote for Obama? Almost certainly not. But will he regard an Obama presidency as a mortal threat to his most deeply held beliefs? Almost certainly not. Strang reflects the same attitude that Stephen Mansfield presents in his forthcoming book, The Faith of Barack Obama. Mansfield, who has published a similar book about President Bush, writes: "Obama's faith infuses his public policy, so that his faith is not just limited to the personal realms of his life, it also informs his leadership." Mansfield can't bring himself to support Obama because the candidate is pro-choice, but it hardly sounds as if Mansfield will be trying to shepherd hordes of voters to the polls on Election Day to defeat him.

And that's the point. Sometimes, the most effective approach for a candidate is to lower the temperature of the opposition—to say, in effect, "OK, don't vote for me; but you have nothing to fear from me." In other words, to reassure them that you're not so bad.

McCain, meanwhile, had face time with Billy and Franklin Graham.

But forget about religion. The emerging GOP issue is Obama's flip-flopping. Charles Krauthammer's latest, published today in D-G, distills the talking points and makes a bit of fun of his media worshippers.


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