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GOP leaders kowtow to right-wing Bible thumpers

June 19, 2014

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  (REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
(REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Some of the Republican Party’s most ambitious leaders are courting religious conservatives as evangelical officials claim new momentum in their fight for the GOP’s soul.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition, led by former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, launches its annual conference Thursday with appearances by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Almost every other top-tier prospective presidential hopeful is on the agenda for the three-day gathering in Washington.

“This is the most conservative, the most pro-life and the most pro-family stable of candidates we’ve ever had,” Reed told The Associated Press in an interview. “Not only do you not have someone running who’s socially moderate to liberal that we can see so far, but you have a lot of people who are going to run who are actually champions on these issues.”

The speaking program includes a pair of social conservative favorites, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist pastor. Both are former presidential candidates weighing 2016 campaigns. But religious conservatives like Reed note that most GOP White House hopefuls considered more mainstream oppose gay marriage and abortion rights, including funding for Planned Parenthood, among other social conservative priorities.

That group includes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is scheduled to deliver his first major address to evangelical voters Friday, along with Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and a libertarian favorite, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who personally opposes gay marriage and abortion rights but suggests that the GOP focus less on divisive social issues as it tries to broaden its appeal after a disappointing 2012 election season.

Among the early 2016 favorites, only former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is not on the agenda, although he addressed the same group last year. He cited a scheduling conflict.

Organizers expect more than 1,000 evangelical leaders to attend the conference and hope to mobilize religious conservative voters ahead of the upcoming midterm elections and the 2016 presidential contest, which is expected to begin in earnest early next year. While polls suggest that social conservatives are losing their fight against gay marriage, Republican officials across the political spectrum concede that evangelical voters continue to play a critical role in Republican politics.

“You can ignore them, but you do so at our own peril,” said Republican operative Hogan Gidley, who has worked for Santorum and Huckabee in the past.

In the 2012 general election, exit polls showed that white evangelicals and born-again Christians made up 26 percent of the electorate and overwhelmingly backed Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama, 78 percent to 21 percent.

And evangelical voters are expected to make up a greater portion of this November’s midterm elections, in which Democrats are fighting to protect their Senate majority.

“They’re not going away. Their issues aren’t going away,” Reed said. “And they’re going to matter in 2014 and 2016.”


Copyright  © 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

Copyright  © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

26 Responses to GOP leaders kowtow to right-wing Bible thumpers

  1. jim

    June 19, 2014 at 9:10 am

    The evangicals will destroy the republican party

    • Joe

      June 19, 2014 at 10:23 am

      The Republican party has already lost its way to the progressives in it

  2. mridenhour

    June 19, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Of course, they have to court someone besides the 1% filthy rich that they’re actually hoping to go to work for. So all you gun lovers, people who want to impose your personal beliefs on everyone else in our school systems and doctors’ offices, those who want to keep the white in White House and women in the kitchen, get out there and vote Republican! It’s the only way to go.

  3. Gary

    June 19, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Come on man. What a ridiculous title for the opinion article. A little bit of insult and prejudice don’t yo uthink?

  4. Alex Wright

    June 19, 2014 at 9:26 am

    “They’re not going away. Their issues aren’t going away,”

    If you state your issues as something that you feel a certain way about because that’s the way you perceive right and wrong, that’s one thing, but if you say that you support certain political ideas because of your faith, then I have to question your ability to think rationally and to employ sound logic. Belief in God aside, if you believe that your religion is the one “right” religion of all the worlds religions that have been (and ever will be), I find that flies in the face of logic and I couldn’t possibly see myself supporting a candidate who prides themselves in displaying such a blatant foible.

  5. Mike Mihaljevich

    June 19, 2014 at 9:28 am

    WHAT IRONY!!! Courting Religious fanatics (like their Muslim, Jewish, and Hindu counterparts) in an attempt to return America to a past it has never had!!! And, in the process, like all fanatics, forcing people to live ‘the way God intended’ !!??

    Amazingly, Ralph Reed is no more a true Christian than I am. Jesus talked of the focus being The Father, or God; living a spiritual life; not accumulating things in this mortal life; giving up one’s possessions; treating others as one wanted to be treated. Living the simple life and meditating daily and dedicating much of my life to working for the poor, indeed, I am more Christian!!!

    How interesting it would be to follow Ralph Reed around as he makes his rounds with the Rich, the Privileged, the Greedy, the Materialistic, etc. That FILM would be worth seeing.

    The Founding Fathers of OUR COUNTRY, wanted separation of Church and State, NOT a theocracy as Iran has. Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, Adams were actually Deists or closer to it.

    The Religious Fanatics like Reed are Ignoramuses supreme, taking the Bible ‘literally’ (subject upon closer inspection to ”their interpretation of literal!!!). I mean, if Jesus says one must be BORN AGAIN, taken literally, he seems to be taking about reincarnation. If NOT taken literally, who is to interpret? Well, the right wing religious fanatics answer: US!!!!!!

    It sounds more like religious fascism, a la Taliban….to me.

    • Bob

      June 19, 2014 at 10:09 am

      The gang of four DeLay , Abramoff ,Reed , and Norquist Need close have only been partially dealt with ..Closer scrutiny is in order .

  6. David D

    June 19, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Hillary 2016!!!!!

    • Joe

      June 19, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Benghazi will sink her Dave, she’s not a leader she’s another bold face lair like Obama….No more Clinton’s no more Bush’s.

      • Rob

        June 19, 2014 at 9:20 pm

        Hey Joe,

        During what grade of grammar school did you go AWOL?

        Good lord!

  7. Cat

    June 19, 2014 at 9:36 am

    …..And that is why the GOP will fail every time. As a society we are tired of having our religion mixed with politics.The Religious Right is moving backwards and we are all sick of these hypocrites !!

  8. ed davis

    June 19, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Your article is sad, very sad indeed…

  9. Robert

    June 19, 2014 at 9:50 am

    If you can say “bible thumpers,” then Washington can call themselves “Redskins.”

  10. Tom Hall

    June 19, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Oh good. More efforts to restrict freedoms based on religious doctrine. Watch out Salem, Massachusetts…witch burnings are coming back.

  11. J

    June 19, 2014 at 9:57 am

    The GOP: Knowingly makeing promises they can never deliver to the conservative base, who still haven’t caught on to the concept of separation of church and state.

  12. Paul

    June 19, 2014 at 10:10 am

    What Soul? They gave the meat to the devil for money and now they want God to take the bones.

  13. Anthony Kight

    June 19, 2014 at 10:33 am

    They cater to the right wing loons for votes period…..

  14. Pat OMalley

    June 19, 2014 at 10:48 am

    How is Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter’s reparative therapy coming along? Let us pray.

  15. nikkidane

    June 19, 2014 at 10:51 am

    This is nothing new. They are on the wrong side of history.

  16. Diane Leshkiv

    June 19, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Politics is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.
    — George Santayana

  17. Cal

    June 19, 2014 at 11:07 am

    The courting of the Religeous Right (aka Moral Majority) is what caused me to leave the GOP years ago. If the religeous wingnuts had their way we would be a theocracy and institute their own version of Sharia Law via Christian doctrine. This will lead to a facist state, and I for one don’t want that.
    It’s a good things the younger generation is becoming less religeous and more spiritual and sane. Hopefully they will be more open to the way the world works and that we are all of the same race, the Human race, and that all people are equal.

  18. batia1981

    June 19, 2014 at 11:19 am

    If only the “Bible Thumpers” would actually study biblical history and study the Gospels in depth in their proper context, we would not have such a mess. Unfortunately, most do not do any real critical thinking when it comes to scripture. They simply listen to what they are told. Sad.

  19. Sonny Nelson

    June 19, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Boy, talk about intolerance, not just religious but totally, in your face, you don’t belong in America nor in this world if you have a belief or opinion other than those expressed here. I smell a hint of pure hate in some of these post. If I had to profile this bunch, I would put them in the secular humanism sect, you know the kind, hyper elitist, snobbish, atheistic leanings , anti any religion and anti any one that disagrees with their opinions about the world in general, and common folks in particular. Know why they feel this way? Insecurity, plain and simple, intellect is lacking, this is shown by their inability to debate, argue yes, but debate, no, their secular knowledge has limits, their soul knows no remorse, and really, they do not fit the mold of a human, more animal intellect than human. “They gonna git you before you git them,” and holler louder too.

  20. Ken Derendinger

    June 19, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    With no disrespect intended, I’d like to correct grammatical errors. Evangelicals are very different from the Warvangelicals who have hijacked American Christianity and the Republican Party. So, please don’t smear common Evangelicals when you are referring to Warvangelicals.

  21. Gene

    June 19, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    You can’t stop PROGRESS!

  22. art

    June 19, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    are they not amercian do they not have a right to speak their voice?