2007-10-01

Confusion for Christian Conservatives

From the department of my-kingdom-actually-is-of-this-world:
Barely three months before the voting for a new president begins, the religious right has yet to unite behind a Republican candidate, heightening concerns among evangelical leaders that social liberal Rudolph W. Giuliani will capture the party's nomination.

The splintering of religious conservatives, if it endures, could ease the way for New York's former mayor to emerge as the party's first nominee to explicitly support abortion rights since the Supreme Court legalized the procedure in 1973.

But the lack of a consensus choice for president is only one of the troubles facing conservative evangelicals, a powerful force within the GOP for more than a generation.

...

Leaders of Christian conservative groups are threatening to back a third-party candidate in an attempt to stop Giuliani from winning the nomination, the New York Times reported Sunday.

Some evangelical leaders hoped that former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee could be their standard-bearer. But his early stumbles have raised doubts about his capacity to rally support. And some evangelical leaders have questioned his commitment to battling same-sex marriage and abortion.

James C. Dobson, one of the country's most influential evangelicals, told allies in a recent e-mail that Thompson could not "speak his way out of a paper bag."

"He has no passion, no zeal, and no apparent 'want to,' " the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family wrote. "And yet he is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!"

Also vying for the backing of the evangelical community is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. His heavy spending on TV ads in Iowa, where religious conservatives dominate the GOP caucuses that traditionally launch the nomination contest, has vaulted him to the front-runner's spot in polls there.

But he is still struggling to surmount guardedness toward his Mormon faith and his switch to conservative stands on abortion, gay rights and other matters after campaigning in Massachusetts as a moderate on social issues.
I'm not a big fan of James Dobson or the whole social conservative movement in America that is embraced by mainstream evangelicals. For starters, I don't understand why Christians would wish to set up laws in order to force people to obey Christian morals without letting them be converted first. Moreover, I think that to gauge a candidate based upon social conservatism or their Christian faith makes the assumption that they will actually be a decent president. Personally I think American Christians should vote for the candidate who they think will do the best job, not the one who is the most overt Christian.

But if evangelical leaders want someone they can vote for, why doesn't someone like James Dobson run for president? I'm sure millions of Americans would vote for him - even more so if he was the Republican candidate.

2 comments:

Ron Lankshear said...

I am frequently amazed at how very right wing our Christian brothers and sisters over there can be. Back in 1989 in Chicago I was tackled quite strongly over what we were doing about their Nuke ships. Then I realised it was the ban in New Zealand ports. But I was still "wrong". Rather like my social intro to a bank manager in Seoul. Oh Australia just next to New Zealand.

The Fred Thompson as a candidate also amazes me. As Dobson said he cannot make speeches - he is also too old and he is an ACTOR. Haven't they had enough of actors - so many seem to get to politics in real life. I saw Martin Sheen joking about his progression through the ranks to the top job in his acting life I just cannot see how Fred would convince me he was not playing a role. Has his whole acting career been simply to convince the voters?

Romney sounds ok - but there are points you make.

There must be somebody.

OR Is Hillary a certainty?

Now if Martin Sheen was standing...

BLBeamer said...

I seriously don't believe that James Dobson has the influence he is alleged to have. If he did not exist, Democrats and other progressives would have to invent him in order to have a designated villain handy for display for fundraising letters and BBQs.

He may have a hard-core following, but they are a tiny, tiny number of people.

Speaking for myself, I am on a presidential campaign fast. I refuse to pay any attention to any of those folks until the summer of 2008. Although I must admit Dennis Kucinich makes me giggle just to look at him.