A Bishop's Endorsement Provokes Protest
For eight years, Democrats have complained about clergy who promoted President Bush and other conservatives, saying it is divisive to portray a candidate or a party as being more (or less) on God's team. But now that Democratic candidates are talking about religion more than Republicans, the tables may have turned.
Today, Sen. Barack Obama's campaign put out a news release announcing that he has the support of New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson. The Obama campaign identified Robinson as "a civil rights leader and a leading voice in the faith community." He is more widely known as the gay Episcopal priest whose election to bishop in 2003 fueled massive debate about Scripture and sexuality in the Episcopal church, and led some Episcopalians to leave the church.
Three hours after the announcement, Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, said it was "just the latest example of candidates misusing religious leaders for political gain."
Gaddy said he was sending a letter to all the presidential candidates asking them not to make endorsements that appear to be speaking on behalf of their house of worship or denomination.
"In recent presidential campaigns little concern has been in evidence about the negative consequences that certain political strategies bring about for houses of worship," Gaddy's letter read.
Robinson's support for Obama came, according to the campaign's news release, during a "conference call today with reporters," when Robinson said he believes "Obama's faith" and background make him uniquely qualified to lead America.
Posted at 4:49 PM ET on Aug 2, 2007
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