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October 1, 2006

It's The Turnout, Stupid!

-- by Dave Johnson

Step one, spend millions to saturate the airwaves with the nastiest, ugliest smears and trash of "negative ads" until NO ONE wants to vote for any Democrat.

Then step two, get your own voters to the polls: Pastors Guiding Voters to GOP - Los Angeles Times,

With a pivotal election five weeks away, leaders on the religious right have launched an all-out drive to get Christians from pew to voting booth. Their target: the nearly 30 million Americans who attend church at least once a week but did not vote in 2004.

... The Rev. Rick Scarborough, a leading evangelical in Texas, has recruited 5,000 "patriot pastors" nationwide to promote an agenda that aligns neatly with Republican platforms. "We urge them to avoid legal entanglement, but there are times in a pastor's life when he needs to take a biblical stand," Scarborough said. "Our higher calling is to Christ."

The campaign encourages individual pastors to use sermons, Bible studies and rallies to drive Christians to the polls — and, by implication or outright endorsement, to Republican candidates. One online guide to discussing the election in church, produced by the Focus on the Family ministry, offers this tip: If a congregant says her top concerns are healthcare and national security, suggest that Jesus would make abortion and gay marriage priorities.

At a recent rally in Pennsylvania, Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson told a crowd of 3,000 that it would be "downright frightening" if Republicans lost control of Congress. If there's a good Christian on the ballot, he said, failing to vote "would be a sin."

... Political preaching has been particularly fervent this season in Ohio, where two conservative mega-churches have promoted the Republican candidate for governor, J. Kenneth Blackwell. They've featured him in at least six rallies that blended patriotic appeals with Christian revival.

... Some of this fall's efforts are aimed at energizing politically active but disillusioned Republicans who might otherwise stay home. But Hanna is particularly eager to reach the 30 million regular churchgoers, and an overlapping group of 19 million evangelicals, who did not vote in 2004. Their indifference to politics is "either a tragedy or a scandal," he said, but he's certain it can be overcome.

Posted by Dave Johnson at October 1, 2006 7:30 PM

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Comments

I don't understand why a church in Pasadena gets investigated for an anti-war sermon, but THIS stuff gets a pass.

I mean, I *understand*, but why no outrage?

Posted by: Valentinian [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 1, 2006 9:46 PM

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