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Democrats Try to Close 'God' Gap

Burns Strider, a former senior aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, has opened his own consulting shop with the goal of bridging the gap between faith and values voters and the Democratic party.

"By communicating shared values and delivering a message that resonated with people of faith, we help Democrats and people of goodwill frame and expand the national values debate and focus attention on the common good that are central to America's families ad communities," said Strider.

The Eleison Group, named after the "Kyrie Eleison" prayer from Christian liturgy, is comprised of Strider who served as director of faith outreach for Clinton; Eric Sapp, a consultant on faith issues to Sens. Bob Casey (Pa.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) as well as Govs. Ted Strickland (Ohio) and Kathleen Sebelius (Kans.); and Glenn Rushing, another former Clinton aide with experience at both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The formation of the Eleison Group comes on the heels of the release of interesting new polling from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life that reveals not only the large numbers of Americans who believe in God but also the gap between the parties among these religious/values voters.

The "Landscape Survey" by Pew, which tested more than 35,000 Americans on their views of religion, showed that 92 percent of people believe "in the existence of God or a universal spirit." Fifty six percent said religion was a "very important" part of their lives and just under four in ten (39 percent) said they attend church weekly.

When political ideology is overlaid on these data points, it becomes clear that Strider and other like-minded Democrats have much work to do.

"One of the realities in politics in the U.S. today is that people who regularly attend worship services and hold traditional religious views are much more likely to hold conservative political views while those who are less connected to religious institutions and more secular in their outlook are more likely to hold liberal political views," according to the Pew summary document on the poll.

A few questions in the Pew poll explain this supposition:

* Among those who attend religious services weekly or more, 50 percent call themselves conservative as compared to 31 percent who describe themselves as moderate and 20 percent who think of themselves as liberal.

* Forty six percent of those who consider religion "very important" identify as conservatives as opposed to 32 percent who call themselves moderates and 12 percent who say they are liberals.

* Those who pray daily also are far more likely to think of themselves as conservative (44 percent) than liberal (15 percent). One in three Americans who pray every day refer to themselves as moderates.

Exit polling from the 2004 presidential race, too, reveals the so-called "God gap" between Democrats and Republicans.

Among voters who attended church more than weekly (16 percent of the overall vote), President Bush beat Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) 64 percent to 35 percent. Bush carried a 17 point edge among the one in four voters who went to church once a week. Voters who attended church on a monthly basis split evenly between Bush and Kerry, while those who attended infrequently or not at all skewed toward the Democrat.

It's worth noting that church attendance is far from the only expression of religious belief but it is a measure regularly used by pollsters to gauge where the two parties stand in the minds of faith and values voters.

Voters still tend to see the GOP as the party that welcomes people of faith and the Democratic party as dominated by those for whom religious belief is less important. Perceptions take more than one election to change and even the most optimistic of Democrats believe that narrowing their defeats among those who consider themselves religious voters is a good goal for the coming fall campaign.

Organizations like the Eleison Group will have their real impact -- if they have one at all -- not this fall but in four and eight years as party strategists work to make their case to faith and value voters about why they belong under the Democratic tent.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 24, 2008; 5:04 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party  
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Comments

OK. I am now convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that Barack Obama holds our FUTURE. What does McCain hold for us? The past is gone!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

seigrella |: Well, unless you mean that your religious rights give you the power to force them on others, you haven't lost them. But the First Ammendment says that, exactly, you CAN't force them on others. And it has taken us more than 200 years to get that worked out in practice. Eventually, anti sodomy laws fell for various reasons, but hiding back in the rulings there is the realization that they try to enforce Christian (possibly misinterpretation) readings of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Whether they are or are not mis interpretations, they are attempts to enforce Jewish Religious Law on non Jews.

Note that you didn't even try to define a non religious based argument for criminalizing homosexuality and gay (bad word but have to use it) behavior.

Blue Laws, anti blasphemy laws, public prayer in public schools, all have fallen before the First Amendment, and they always will. They fail for the simple reason that they are always there so the "Faithful" can force the "Heathens" to be more "Christian".You may teach your children whatever you wish. When you decide that you want the Government to teach my children what you teach your children, I draw the line.

That is Religious Freedom, that is what the First amendment is all obout.

Posted by: ceflynline@msn.com | June 26, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

There is no way you change how the antichrist, Obama and his wife, appear to the public as immoral persons who condone abortion and the marriage of gays and lesbians.

There is no way you can change the twenty years that Obama and his militant wife soaked up the hate that his black church has for the white race.

Maybe if you ask Michael Jackson for some whitewash.

Posted by: WISEOWL 1 | June 26, 2008 1:49 AM | Report abuse

"Since the primary movers of the Pro Criminalization movements against abortion and gays seem to be religiously based, they seem to collide directly with the first amendment, which prohibits establishment of religion. Try proposing a pro criminalization law against gays and supporting it without recourse to divine authority. Can't be done, and no one even tries."

Excuse me, when did I get striped of my civil liberties just because I have religion. Do not forget the motto of our Country as stated by the forefathers: IN GOD WE TRUST! Where did you study History? Or did you forget that this Country was founded by people fleeing religious limitations imposed by the English empire? What was om the first things the pilgrims did upon arriving on the Eastern Coast of what we call the USA? Pray and give thanks to THE ALMIGHTY GOD. How about Thomas Jefferson and so many other founding fathers? They were all Christian Church members; today we would say "Card" carrying members. And what are Christian principles?, check the Bible: the ten commandments and Christ's preachings. SO DO NOT TELL ME TO LEAVE RELIGION AT THE DOOR. CHRISTIAN IS WHAT I AM AND WHAT OUR LAWS ARE BASE ON WETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT! You have a right to believe whatever you want, but it does not change the TRUTH.

Posted by: seigrella | June 25, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I completely agree that the Christian message has been taken over and misused by the right. It has a very good fit with Democratic politics.

For instance, I've never attended a church that didn't have a pantry, so that there was always something to give when desperate people showed up. Christians help, that is a huge part of the mission, especially people who cannot pay you back. Many government programs like food stamps, school lunches are designed to take do these things in an efficient way. What is wrong with that?

I find it hard to understand why a christian person would give to a church pantry but be against a government food program.

Posted by: Caterpiller | June 25, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I only wish that George Carlin was still around to comment on this topic.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | June 25, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Based upon his inability to get the truth right in his early points, I suspect that Leonard Bynum isn't any more truthful about his actual Political orientation.

Truth: Democrats don't "support killing the unborn", they just have a problem with accepting the recriminalization of abortion, ESPECIALLY when those who want to recriminalize it won't specify just what the legal nature of the crime will be, or what the penalty will be, or who will be the criminal. An awful lot of "pro life" (as contrasted with Joseph Cardinal Bernardines definition of "Pro Life") Catholics might find themselves in a real state of confusion when it turns out that it will be a capital crime for a woman to get an abortion, for the woman. Most Democrats would do well to change their appelation to "Anti Criminalization">

Most Democrats, again, are not so much pro gay, as anti recriminalization of sexual orientation.

Since the primary movers of the Pro Criminalization movements against abortion and gays seem to be religiously based, they seem to collide directly with the first amendment, which prohibits establishment of religion. Try proposing a pro criminalization law against gays and supporting it without recourse to divine authority. Can't be done, and no one even tries.

It IS possible to build the sermon on the mount into political agenda WITHOUT any recourse to religious authority, so that a man could bring his religious awareness into political life and yet not impose his religion on any one. LOTS of politicians actually do it. It is just that very few of them are Fundamentalist Christian Republicans.

Posted by: ceflynline@msn.com | June 25, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Voters identify religion with the GOP because the Republicans have historically claimed this group as their own. Many campaigns (including Bush in 2000 and 2004) were designed and targeted specifically for voters with faith while Dems, in an effort to separate themselves from the GOP, did nothing. Finally, Democrats are waking up and realizing the importance and the power behind religious voters. I completely disagree with the idea that Eleison's impact will not be seen for another 4-8 years. Yes, something cannot be truly be called a trend until time passes, but that doesn't mean the trend hasn't already started. Eric Sapp's work with past candidates were all successful in 2006, might that have been the beginning of a trend? As for 2008, all three Democratic Presidential candidates had Faith Outreach Coordinators and Sen. Obama is polling better among 18-29 year old religious voters. Obama leads among weekly churchgoers 59-32, and interestingly enough does the best among Easter/Christmas Christians (72-23). McCain only wins more-than-weekly churchgoers. I'd say the trend is in full swing! I'm thrilled to learn of Eleison's work and look forward to tracking their successes.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

The question whether or not to support Obama became an issue for me with his "bridge-the-god-gap" derived policy. He stated that office holders should not be expected to leave their religious beliefs on the steps when they entered congress - those beliefs "inform" their judgement.

As an atheists I share a fundamental core underpinning with theists - both of us start from a point of ignorance and resolve that void by adopting an unprovable belief as a mater of faith - i.e. acceptance of something unprovable. The difference is that a rational atheist can understand that common basis while theists tend to the contraty - i.e holding to the absolute truth of their faith based belief. While I can understand concepts of real compelling state interest and rational basis, thiests tend to see only their "truth" and feel absolutely righteous in imposing their beliefs on others through civil law irrestpective of compelling state interest or rational basis and often in opposition to the rights of others. I have heard theists assert that it IS the compelling state interest to adopt and compel their "truth" through civil law. A former Presidential candidate and possible Vice Presidential choice has advocated for just that position - amend the Constitution to assert that the function of our democracy is to implement God's Word. Who's god and which words? It would be impossible to maintain a pluralistic society or a republican democracy respecting the rights of all were such a view to be fully realized.

How does one reconcile these two views? I can live with compelling state interest and rational basis. I cannot live with compelling state interest defined as non-rational faith based dogma and imposed on all. Bridge my gap, get my vote. Cater to theists beyond shared rational basis and you loose my vote. A substantial number of faith based beliefs or values are also rationally based. The values of athiests and the various theists are not mutually exclusive, not always in opposition. I will start there, can theists say the same and limit their faith to the conduct of their own lives as they expect of me? I'm not hopeful.

Posted by: Richard Willis | June 25, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats have a very clear and easy way to reach out to people of Faith. Senator Obama and as many Democratic members of Congress as possible should join Senator Casey and over 30 House Democrats in sponsoring the Pregnant Women's Support Act.
This measure was designed by the Democrats for Life of America to reduce abortions by 90% by positive rather than punitive measures.

Posted by: Brian Yates | June 25, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Some state Democratic establishments have closed the God gap fairly well. Examples:
1. Tenn. Governor Phil Bredsen does pretty well amongst Dems, good o' boys & Christians. He's a social moderate and the Tenn. state democratic party has moved in that direction.
2. Dem. Pa. senator Bob Casey is the primary abortion foe in the state of Pa. Even senior senator Arlen Spector is pro-choice as well as gov. Ed Rendell. Casey is pro life.

These are just 2 examples how some dems. have bridged the gap of faith based voters.

Posted by: reason | June 25, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

develop some projects like a rapid transist system for our country that would put people to work, reduce emissions, reduce dependence on oil, and reduce the wear on road systems?

The commenter makes an interesting point.

Can America shake off sixty years of highway construction and suburban sprawl and transform itself into an energy-efficient society through the political system?

Why not? We used the political system to build the highways and sprawl.

Posted by: robert chapman | June 25, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

A recent survey shows Catholics identify two to one Democratic, Jews are a key core Democratic constituency, African American church goers are overwhelmingly Democratic, mainstream Protestants trend more Republican, but a considerable portion of them are Democrats.

The God-gap only opens up in discussions of the political leanings of conservative, fundamentalist, evangelical and pentecostal organizations that are dedicated to imposing their views, life-styles and values on the rest of us.

The Christian Right preaches vehemently against us, referring to us as humanists, secularists and misguided.

They intend to re-write the law to support their views, to revise history to enhance their idealogy and to use the coercive power of the state to quash dissent and free expression of religious, political, scientific and artistic freedom.

To top it off they smilingly assure us that they are concerned for our souls, determined to lovingly save us from eternal damnation and supported by the higher powers of biblical revelation in all their impositions on our self-determination.

Posted by: robert chapman | June 25, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Leonard said: "I find it interesting for those who are Democrats to state a belief in Christ and how the Bible wants us to take care of our fellow man. Yet, they support the killing of unborn babies while opposing the execution of convicted killers."

And they also oppose invading other countries for oil profits (unlike the G.O.P.).

And they also support helping the poor like Jesus did (unlike the G.O.P.).

It is very interesting indeed!

Posted by: Don | June 25, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I find it interesting for those who are Democrats to state a belief in Christ and how the Bible wants us to take care of our fellow man. Yet, they support the killing of unborn babies while opposing the execution of convicted killers. They support gays, yet the Bible is clearly against them. To give people money does not help them develop work ethic, obtain an education or training, take responsiblility for raising the children they fathered. Requiring they earn the money, get an education and training and take of their children does. America has bankrupted our country by throwing money to people to appease them, rather than coming up with real solutions. Yes, the Iraq war was a stupid move. But then so have all wars been since WWII. None since then were necessary. Both major parties are guilty of indulging the war ethic. Instead of spending money on wars and social programs (welfare and the like), why not actually develop some projects like a rapid transist system for our country that would put people to work, reduce emissions, reduce dependence on oil, and reduce the wear on road systems?
We could require those receiving federal money train for these jobs and work on projects like this. This would give them a skill to earn their own way. "Give a man a fish and he continues to hunger. Teach a man to fish and HE meets his needs"
I know their are good Democrats in our country, but the liberal side of your party has gone too far against the main steam of our country for me to vote any longer for your canidates. I am and have always been an independent because I like to stay open to what people believe in and will do for our country. I don't know much about Obama, but am concerned about what I do know about him.

Posted by: Leonard Bynum | June 25, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Barack...No friend to the unborn. This is why we won't close the religion gap.

Posted by: Terrence | June 25, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

this could also have been written the other way: that Republicans are less welcoming to people for whom religion is less important, and this is reflected in their lower popularity among this group.
MuD: the Democrats do believe in abortion reduction, by reducing unwanted pregnancies, that's been their position for a long time.

Posted by: newageblues | June 25, 2008 6:23 AM | Report abuse

this could also have been written the other way: that Republicans are less welcoming to people for whom religion is less important, and this is reflected in their lower popularity among this group.
MuD: the Democrats do believe in abortion reduction, by reducing unwanted pregnancies, that's been their position for a long time.

Posted by: newageblues | June 25, 2008 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Jackson I doubt there is such an ad you speak of? If Obama or his supporters made such an ad using deplorable messages than I would agree that it would be fair to use such an ad against Obama. Obama Girl aside, nobody is that low to use sex in a campaign.

Posted by: Eddie | June 25, 2008 12:45 AM | Report abuse

You need to read this:

THIS MAY EXPLAIN SOME THINGS, HUH?


Obama's disturbing Africentrism
Posted: February 23, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

© 2008

By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown

Barack Obama's church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, which he has attended since 1991, has some very unique and disturbing ideas and beliefs. It is a self-proclaimed Africentric Christian church, which means its members embrace their connection with Africa, and its teachings are centered on all things African and African culture. This is the church where Obama converted to the Christian faith, and it has now grown to over 5,000 members. The mainstream media have ignored discussing this important influence on the presumptive Democratic nominee. It needs a full examination.

Africentric beliefs place an emphasis on identifying African presence in the Bible. The church offers classes in Swahili, and it has youth programs for young men and women, Intonjane and Isuthu, Swahili words for entering manhood and womanhood. Kwanzaa, the African-focused holiday created in the 1960s is observed by congregants along with a Thanksgiving Day service called Umoja Karamu. This special service tells the story of the black family starting from its West African origins to present day using drums, storytelling and dancing.

Trinity emphasizes the African roots of Christianity in its Bible classes. One example they like to use is the story about the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8. Traditional African clothing is worn by the pastor and some members. Also, other African symbols such as the pan-African flag are prominently displayed.

(Column continues below)

Trips to Africa are regularly made by members. The church's longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, once accompanied black supremacist Louis Farrakhan to Libya to meet with Col. Moammar Gadhafi. Obama has himself traveled repeatedly to his father's homeland, Kenya. He has a brother still living in that conflict-riddled country. Obama has even spoken out during his campaign about the current crisis in Kenya, where over 700 lives have been lost. The Marxist opposition leader, Raila Odinga, comes from the same tribe as Obama's late father. His older brother Roy, a militant Muslim, supports Odinga. Odinga reportedly has joined forces with an extremist Islamic group that wants to oust the presently pro-Western government of Kenya that won the recent elections. While campaigning in New Hampshire, Obama took a call from Odinga (who claims to be his cousin) and appears to have sided with him in the conflict.

When Obama joined Trinity United Church of Christ, he promised to uphold the church's "Black Value System." This declaration is where members affirm their commitment to God, the "black community," the "black family" and the "black work ethic," in addition to disavowing "the pursuit of 'middle-classness.'" They believe the "competitive" nature of white "entrapment of black middle-classness" will cheat blacks of their African identity while keeping them "captive" to white culture.

"I believe in the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change," Obama claims. Not only that, he says he has questioned "the idolatry of the free market" because of his faith.

The "Black Value System" statement was written in the 1980s by church members. It means the members embrace "things African above things American," says black political commentator Erik Rush, who also says this should be as alarming as a Republican presidential candidate "belonging to the Aryan Brethren Church of Christ." Tucker Carlson of MSNBC once described Trinity as having a "racially exclusive theology" that "contradicts the basic tenets of Christianity."

Wright, who married Obama and his wife, Michelle, and baptized their daughters, now serves as his spiritual adviser. Wright is radically Africentric.

"We are an African people," Wright preaches, "and remain true to our native land, the mother continent." But he goes further than that and has described the 9/11 attacks as a "wake-up call" to "white America" for "ignoring the concerns of people of color." And in one sermon he shouted, "Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run. ... We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God. ... And. And. And. Gawd! Has GOT! To be SICK! OF THIS S***!"

Obama's presidential campaign has tried to distance him from Wright. Last February, when Obama announced his run for the presidency, it revoked an earlier invitation to have Wright give the opening prayer at the event.

The socialist beliefs of Barack Obama's church should be a major concern to voters because they are far out of the mainstream of American thought. Obama's connection to the militant opposition leader in Kenya and his supporting militant Islamic groups trying to overthrow the U.S.-friendly government in that country should be of concern. Al-Qaida would love to see the takeover of Kenya occur.

Posted by: Middle Class America | June 25, 2008 12:39 AM | Report abuse

McCain and the Republicans will be quite well with these voters.

VJ Machiavelli
http://www.vjmachiavelli.blogspot.com
ps, check out the video on my blog it is must see if you support our solders.

Posted by: VJ Machiavelli | June 25, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

VISIT WWW.POLITICALINSIDER.NET FOR ALL THE LATEST POLITICAL NEWS AND OPINION. THE POLITICAL INSIDER INCLUDES A BLOG, VIDEOS,POLLS, ONLINE SURVEY, ELECTION RESULTS, POLITICAL CARTOONS, WEB SHOW, MONEY IN POLITCS AND MUCH MORE

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PS: PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO THE POLITICAL INSIDER FOR FREE. IT ONLY TAKES THIRTY SECONDS!

Posted by: zack | June 25, 2008 12:21 AM | Report abuse

I am a Obama supporter. I was drawn to Obama because he is a realist in the midst of such a chaotic election. However, he has stayed anchored and have perservered through it all. This issue on God only confirms that he have that unconditional love for all, regardless of any nationality. That in itself shows a deep concern for human nature. I am a humanitarian myself, with no respecter of persons, and I love when a plan comes together as it is manifesting now. People, honestly needs to turn from their evil ways that our land may be healed. Life is what you make it, and Obama is living proof that despite it all we can make it for the best. That's my sincere opinion. So as to read articles and hear ministers display controversy in regards to the basic structure of how one may or may not perceive the truth regarding religion, only goes to show that 'true love' is not a manifestation in their world.

Posted by: Nisey01 | June 25, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Democrats Try to Close 'God' Gap

It is not so much a God thing, it is God whom have made us all. He is the Creator of all. So we should give respect and honor to God in whichever manner that we so desire. As it is said "In God we Trust". So there should be no controversy when it comes to dealing with such matters. I think that it is quite appreciative that Obama would relate to the religious aspect of human nature to some extent, because it is a part of life as are so many other issues. None are perfect, yet to speak on the surface and the basic religious structure in this election goes to show how in touch he is with the reality of life and the how natural he is in doing so. It is God whom have created us and not we ourselves. So to engage in controversy as a result of Obama's concern regarding the religious aspect of life only shows how incomplete man is and how destructive that they are to themselves. A person is incomplete without God and will one day have to answer to God. God is love and love covers a multitude of sins. A complete change involves all aspects, not some.

Posted by: Nisey01 | June 24, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Pero que va, gringuitos?

You still don't get the picture about "The Fix" and the WaPo and the rest of the MSM. YOUR comments here are what are important to the debate, whether you agree with me or not or whether you like Obama or McCain.

Those of you who have blogs, I'm sure, from whichever point of view do a far better job of communicating than Chris does, and it's not his fault. The MSM came very late to blogging and way late even to the internet(s) at all in fact.

They see how far ahead of them the blogosphere left and right are and how irrelevant they've become in controlling the message and its framing.

John McCain War Hero and Maverick has been their most-cherished theme for the last 10 years despite all evidence to the contrary. Bloggers know the truth good and bad about McCain because they've been sharing out-of-the-mainstream ideas, left and right, for years now.

The Washington Post needs McCain as President for their lungs. And not only because the editors are pro-war.

They'll for once have been "proved right" and they'll have an FCC that will let them mess up the blogosphere by getting rid of net-neutrality. Why? Because the future is in YOUR comments not in their narrative and they have owners to answer to and companies from whom to solicit advertising revenue.

Posted by: DexterManley | June 24, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

It is only fair after the Obama internet ad that claimed young people will not get laid if they support Mcain. There should be an ad demonstrating God is angry and punishing states with floods that voted for Barack Obama. Don't forget Barack is a man who stood by and said nothing as a church was subverted to preach hate. A man who claims we must be "Bitter" to even be religous in the first place. A man who being accused of distorting the words of the bible. Is God angry? It just sure looks that way.

Posted by: Jackson | June 24, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | June 24, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Remembering my Catholic Mass translation, Eleison (Eta iota subscript lambda epsilon iota sigma omicron nu. How do you get WAPO graphics to do Greek?) means Have mercy.

Please, Lord, do!

Posted by: ceflynline@msn.com | June 24, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

CC posted this blog at 5:04 PM.

First blog posted at 5:13PM. After that, seven more till 8.49PM.

Total of eight postings within 4 hours.

At this rate, you are overpaid.

Hopefully, CC will come up with some grand prize scheme, just like McCain calls for $300 million prize for better car battery.

Posted by: "The Fix" Done? | June 24, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse


It's funny, when I see this polled quoted, people often say "92% of Americans believe in God", but the poll question actually says "or a universal spirit".

Now, what the heck is a "universal spirit"? And what religion worships one? It seems to me that the more important numbers are those who consider religion important in their lives and those who attend church regularly.

Those numbers indicate the depth of religious sentiment and belief in America. It is also interesting how many Americans believe in contradictory things. Many believe in the Bible, UFOs, Astrology and Reincarnation. This is interesting (to me) because it helps explain America, a land where contradictions are regarded as minor matters!!! (I will be returning shortly and look forward to hearing more about this in person (smile)).

As to the role it all plays in political campaigns, the hard right (most of which is religious) will never vote for Obama for a number of reasons, and he shouldn't waste his time on them. The "we believe in many different things all at once" center is more likely to vote on the basis of economic issues than anything else.

It can be very easy to get distracted during the summer lull...

Posted by: PatrickInBeijing | June 24, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

What's wrong with The Fix?

Ever since Clinton dropped out of the race, The Fix blogs are melting day-by-day.

It seems like everybody went back home to pay their bills and they have no time to waste with this blog.

CC, pretty soon you need a real job.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 24, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

There's reason - both temporal and spiritual - to focus on the consistency between true Christian teachings and Democratic policy. You can't feed the hungry or clothe the naked with tax cuts for the rich. Increasing numbers are recognizing a Christian duty to protect God's Creation. Significant expansion of programs to reduce the incidence of abortion will have more salutary effect than continued polarization over Supreme Court appointments aimed at outright prohibition.

Posted by: FlownOver | June 24, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

A lot of Evangelicals are Obama supporters. But, most genuine Christian's are neither Republican or Democrat. There is a lot of purposeful confusion over what constitutes an Evangelical Christian, however. In this country, especially, there has always been a large number of outright con artists, possing as Christian leaders, striking fear into the more feeble minded and promising them some sort of quick fix salvation, but only if they follow them. Hence, you get pseudo-christian cults led by con artists like James Dobson. These are the worst of the self serving, money grubbing liars and cheats because they steal people's very souls. They are no more Christian, much less "evangelical christian", than the Easter Bunny. Based on what I have seen of him in public, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Dobson wasn't an atheist. He surely doesn't believe in the utter nonsense he spouts. The fundimental problem, however, is the willingness of people to actually listen to these scounderals, to trade their very souls for the quick and thoughtless "fix" following these fakes, believing in them instead of God, brings.

Posted by: MikeB | June 24, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

You do not close the God gap by adding a couple bullet points to your platform. You close the God gap by creating a counterforce to the usurpation of evangelicalism and certain Christian denominations by the Republicans. The new testament is pretty specific about caring for your fellow man, poor is better than rich, compassion, etc... Not exactly core Republican principles.

The Democrats also have to change if they want anything more than the odd candidate here and there to win in more religious districts. For example, they should no longer be pro-Choice, instead they should be about abortion reduction. Cite the twin pillars of 1) the Constitution and the rights of the individual and 2) the country's Judeo-Christian heritage. That they are pro-things that work to reduce abortion. A combination of sex education, birth control and adoption, that will prove more effective than the abstinence only, you're going to hell approach of the Republicans. The Democrats can frame health care, assistance to the poor, etc... as issues about common human decency.

They will never win over the extremists, but they could make serious inroads with the conservative leaning independents. The party would, however, have to change the way it frames and approaches issues. The fact of the matter is, the core principles of the Democrats are closer to the majority of people who sit in pews than are the core principles of the Republicans. But those people 1) need a voice that is counter to the Republican institutions that infect so many churches and 2) the party itself needs to change its approach to many issues.

So basically, the Democrats are doomed with this demographic.

Posted by: muD | June 24, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

This is one of the reasons why I am suporting Obama. I read his "Call to Renewal" speech shortly after he gave it and was very impressed. Here was a liberal anti-war Senator who could go toe-to-toe with any Republican when it comes to "Faith". The latest spat between Obama and James Dobson is evidence of that. To read the speech, click on this link:
http://www.barackobama.com/2006/06/28/call_to_renewal_keynote_address.php

Posted by: NM Moderate | June 24, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Quin, he's writing about faith, not science.

Posted by: no arithmetic needed | June 24, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Uhh, that first bullet adds up to 101%.

Posted by: Quin | June 24, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Eleison? They should have gone with the Kyrie, so we can all sing "Kyrie lays along the road that I must travel" like Mr. Mister.

Posted by: bondjedi | June 24, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

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