[Hpn] Christian Intervention For President Bush?

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Mon, 8 Nov 2004 08:56:49 -0500


So do you believe that in 8 years more Homelessness will be ended?

I have to tell you that this Ending Homelessness 10 year plan has been 
kicked around for about 6-7 years now and if we held the powers that be 
accountable that would mean they have 3-4 years left to end it!

Build the affordable housing stop throwing money away into institutional 
beds and other band aid fixes.

A Brother In The Struggle
Bill
www.newhampshirehomeless.org

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 Evangelicals  Say They  Led Charge For the GOP

 By Alan Cooperman  and Thomas B. Edsall

  As the presidential race was heating up in June and July, a pair of leaked 
documents showed that the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign was urging 
Christian supporters to turn over their church directories and was seeking 
to identify "friendly congregations" in battleground states.

 Those revelations produced a flurry of accusations that the Bush campaign 
was leading churches to violate laws against partisan activities by 
tax-exempt organizations, and even some of the White House's closest 
religious allies said the campaign had gone too far.

 But the untold story of the 2004 election, according to national religious 
leaders and grass-roots activists, is that evangelical Christian groups were 
often more aggressive and sometimes better organized on the ground than the 
Bush campaign. The White House struggled to stay abreast of the Christian 
right and consulted with the movement's leaders in weekly conference calls. 
But in many respects, Christian activists led the charge that GOP operatives 
followed and capitalized upon.

 This was particularly true of the  same-sex marriage issue. One of the most 
successful tactics of social conservatives -- the ballot referendums against 
same-sex marriage in 13 states -- bubbled up from below and initially met 
resistance from White House aides, Christian leaders said.

 In dozens of interviews since the election, grass-roots activists in Ohio, 
Michigan and Florida credited President Bush's chief political adviser, Karl 
Rove, with setting a clear goal that became a mantra among conservatives: To 
win, Bush had to draw 4 million more evangelicals to the polls than he did 
in 2000. But they also described a mobilization of evangelical Protestants 
and conservative Roman Catholics that took off under its own power.

  In battlegrounds such as Ohio, scores of clergy members attended legal 
sessions explaining how they could talk about the election from the pulpit. 
Hundreds of churches launched registration drives, thousands of churchgoers 
registered to vote, and millions of voter guides were distributed by 
Christian and antiabortion groups.

 The rallying cry for many social conservatives was opposition to  same-sex 
marriage. But concern about the Supreme Court, abortion, school prayer and 
pornography also motivated these "values voters." Same-sex marriage, said 
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, was "the hood 
ornament on the family values wagon that carried the president to a second 
term."
 How Conservative Turnout Soared
 Whether evangelical turnout rose nationally this year, and by how much, is 
unclear. Without question, however, Bush's conservative Christian base was 
essential to his victory.

 According to surveys of voters leaving the polls, Bush won 79 percent of 
the 26.5 million evangelical votes and 52 percent of the 31 million Catholic 
votes. Turnout soared in conservative areas such as Ohio's Warren County, 
where Bush picked up 18,000 more votes than in 2000, and local activists 
said churches were the reason.

 Over the summer, the Rev. Bruce Moore, pastor of Warren County's Clearcreek 
Christian Assembly, gave two sermons explaining a Christian's responsibility 
to vote. Then he passed out voter registration cards. His 400 congregants 
circulated them among like-minded friends, registering hundreds more voters.

 "On this election, because of the issues before the state of Ohio and the 
nation, they were passionate," Moore said. "It was all hands on deck. I have 
never seen a rush for voter registration cards in my life as a minister."

 Nationally, the backdrop for the mobilization of social conservatives fell 
into place when Massachusetts's highest court sanctioned  same-sex marriage 
in November.

 Some Christian leaders perceived not only a threat to biblical morality, 
but also a winning political issue.  Same-sex marriage "is different from 
abortion," said the Rev. Ronnie Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church of 
Springdale, Ark. "It touches every segment of society, schools, the media, 
television, government, churches. No one is left out."

 Yet Bush was slow to endorse a constitutional amendment to define marriage 
as between a man and a woman. In a January conference call, Rove promised 
impatient Christian leaders that an endorsement would be forthcoming, and it 
finally came Feb. 24, nearly two weeks after  same-sex couples began lining 
up for nuptials in San Francisco.

 "A few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most 
fundamental institution of civilization," Bush said. "Their actions have 
created confusion on an issue that requires clarity."

 For several months after the Massachusetts court decision, evangelical 
leaders lamented the lack of a popular outcry. That changed July 14, when 
the Senate rejected the federal marriage amendment. Media reports described 
the vote as "a big election-year defeat" for the White House. It was, in 
fact, an election-year bonanza.

 Backers of the amendment clogged the Senate switchboard with calls. Perhaps 
most important, social conservatives shifted their focus to amending state 
constitutions. They launched petition drives to put amendments banning 
same-sex marriage to a popular vote, and those drives resulted in 
grass-roots organizations and voter lists that later fed the Bush campaign.

  Ultimately, 13 states approved marriage amendments this year, including 11 
on Nov. 2.

 Some Democrats suspected that the ballot initiatives were engineered by 
Rove and the GOP, but religious activists say otherwise. In Michigan, state 
Sen. Alan Cropsey (R) introduced a bill to ban  same-sex marriage in October 
2003 and assumed it would have the support of his party. Instead, the Roman 
Catholic Church in Michigan became the amendment's main booster, spending 
nearly $1 million to secure its passage.

 "I couldn't say anything publicly, because I would have been blasted for 
it, but the Republican Party was not helpful at all," Cropsey said. "It's 
not like they were the instigators. They were the Johnny-come-latelies, if 
anything."

  Michael Howden, executive director of Stronger Families for Oregon, said 
it was a similar situation in his state. "There's been no contact 
whatsoever, no coordinating, no pushing" by anyone at the White House or in 
the Bush campaign, he said.

 Charles W. Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, recalled a 
meeting early this year when Christian leaders warned White House aides that 
the marriage issue was likely to appear on state ballots and be a factor in 
the presidential election. "The White House guys were kind of resisting it 
on the grounds that 'We haven't decided what position we want to take on 
that,' " he said.
 The Enlistment of Religious Leaders
 According to religious leaders, the conference calls with White House 
officials started early in the Bush administration and became a weekly 
ritual as the campaign heated up. Usually, the participants were Rove or Tim 
Goeglein, head of the White House Office of Public Liaison. Later, Bush 
campaign chairman Ken Mehlman and Ralph Reed, former executive director of 
the Christian Coalition and the campaign's southeast regional coordinator, 
were often on the line.

 The religious leaders varied, but frequent participants included the Rev. 
Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, psychologist James C. 
Dobson or others from the Colorado-based Focus on the Family, and Colson.

 "They did an extremely discreet job," Colson said. "It wasn't like: 'Do 
this. Contact these voters.' It was: 'Here's what's going on in the 
campaign.' It was just keeping people informed, and that's all they had to 
do. It was respectful of the fact that you're talking to religious leaders 
who are individuals, who should not be in the hip pocket of any political 
party."

 The Bush campaign enlisted thousands of religious "team leaders" in its 
canvassing efforts. According to activists in battleground states, however, 
Christian groups were often out ahead of the campaign.

 Gary Cass was in charge of registration and get-out-the-vote efforts in 
three Florida counties for Coral Ridge Ministries, the Fort Lauderdale-based 
broadcasting empire of the Rev. D. James Kennedy. On nights and weekends, he 
also volunteered for the Bush-Cheney campaign -- and found it far less 
organized than Coral Ridge's effort.

 "I couldn't get answers. I had trouble getting a sign for my yard," he 
said. "It was a good thing we weren't coordinating with the Republican 
Party, because there wasn't anybody to cooperate with."

 In Ohio, Lori Viars held a party for Moms and Kids for Bush at a local 
McDonald's. As co-chair of her county's GOP committee, she also spearheaded 
a registration drive at churches that began July 4. "By the time the Bush 
campaign said, 'You should do voter registration through churches,' we were 
already doing that," Viars said.

 National religious leaders, and their lawyers, also made a concerted effort 
to persuade pastors to disregard the warnings of secular groups about what 
churches can and cannot legally do in the political arena.

 Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the conservative American Center for Law and 
Justice, advised in mailings to 45,000 churches that their clergy should 
avoid endorsing a candidate by name from the pulpit. Other than that, "we 
told them they were absolutely free and should encourage their people to 
vote their convictions," he said.

 Such entreaties appear to have worked. Sekulow said he believes that 
thousands of clergy members gave sermons about the election, and that many 
went further than they ever had before. The Rev. Rick Warren, author of the 
best-selling "The Purpose Driven Life" and one of the most influential 
ministers in the country, sent a letter to 136,000 fellow pastors urging 
them to compare the candidates' positions on five "non-negotiable" issues: 
abortion, stem cell research, same-sex marriage, human cloning and 
euthanasia.

  Dobson, a powerful figure among evangelicals, endorsed Bush -- though he 
said he was doing so as an individual, not as chairman of Focus on the 
Family, whose programs are heard on 7,000 radio stations worldwide. "This 
year the issues were so profound that I felt I simply could not sit it out," 
Dobson said last week.

 Far from sitting it out, Dobson created a separate nonprofit, Focus on the 
Family Action, which organized six stadium-size rallies to urge Christians 
in battleground states to "vote their values."

 A values voter, Dobson said, is someone with "a Christian worldview who 
begins with the assumption that God is -- that he not only exists, but he is 
the definer of right and wrong, and there are some things that are moral and 
some things that are immoral, some things that are evil and some things that 
are good."

 Although liberals may mock Bush for his good-vs.-evil approach to the 
world, it "is seen by many of us not as a negative but as a positive," 
Dobson said. "Here is a man who is simply committed to a system of beliefs."

 Staff writer James V. Grimaldi in Ohio, polling assistant Christopher Muste 
and researchers Carmen E. Chapin, Madonna A. Lebling and Meg Smith 
contributed to this report.



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