Friday, October 5, 2007

Many "Christian Conservatives" are lost!

From the LA Times October 1. Giuliani is concerned about security for who? Not for the 3,700 babies slaughtered each day in the USA, that's for sure!

Christian right is split over GOP field

Jeff Reinking / Associated Press
SECURITY FIRST: Concern over security could lead Christian conservatives to overlook disagreements with Rudolph Giuliani, shown at a campaign stop in a Kirkland, Wash., cafe last month.
Conservative evangelicals haven't found a perfect fit among the Republican presidential candidates — and that could benefit social liberal Giuliani.
By Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 1, 2007
WASHINGTON — Barely three months before the voting for a new president begins, the religious right has yet to unite behind a Republican candidate, heightening concerns among evangelical leaders that social liberal Rudolph W. Giuliani will capture the party's nomination.

The splintering of religious conservatives, if it endures, could ease the way for New York's former mayor to emerge as the party's first nominee to explicitly support abortion rights since the Supreme Court legalized the procedure in 1973.

But the lack of a consensus choice for president is only one of the troubles facing conservative evangelicals, a powerful force within the GOP for more than a generation.

"It's low tide right now for our movement," said Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Assn.

Opportunities for the religious right to press its agenda suffered a blow when Republicans lost control of both chambers of Congress in last year's midterm election.

Making matters worse are sex scandals besetting Republicans who have championed family values, most recently Sens. Larry E. Craig of Idaho and David Vitter of Louisiana. Their troubles -- after the sex scandal last fall involving then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) that contributed to the GOP's midterm losses -- have diminished enthusiasm for the party among many social conservatives.

Also hobbling the religious right is the decline of the Christian Coalition of America. A mobilizing force in the 1990s, the South Carolina-based group has suffered financial setbacks and now plays a marginal role in Republican politics.

At the same time, evangelical leaders are roiled in internal debate over whether to broaden their agenda beyond opposing abortion and same-sex marriage. Some argue that they have a responsibility to also fight poverty, AIDS and global warming.

"The old Christian right that automatically could be mobilized against a few issues -- that movement is being diluted," said the Rev. Joel C. Hunter, whose appointment as Christian Coalition president was cut short last year amid an outcry over his push to widen the group's focus.

In the presidential race, several of the lower-tier candidates have cast themselves as staunch supporters of the Christian right's priorities -- most obviously Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas. But few observers see those candidates' prospects as realistic. And many social conservatives have doubts about the higher-profile contenders vying with Giuliani.

"There's just no enthusiasm for this crop of first-tier candidates," said Richard Viguerie, a veteran conservative activist and author. "Not one of them is a principled conservative, so why support them?"

Leaders of Christian conservative groups are threatening to back a third-party candidate in an attempt to stop Giuliani from winning the nomination, the New York Times reported Sunday.

Some evangelical leaders hoped that former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee could be their standard-bearer. But his early stumbles have raised doubts about his capacity to rally support. And some evangelical leaders have questioned his commitment to battling same-sex marriage and abortion.

James C. Dobson, one of the country's most influential evangelicals, told allies in a recent e-mail that Thompson could not "speak his way out of a paper bag."

"He has no passion, no zeal, and no apparent 'want to,' " the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family wrote. "And yet he is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!"

Also vying for the backing of the evangelical community is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. His heavy spending on TV ads in Iowa, where religious conservatives dominate the GOP caucuses that traditionally launch the nomination contest, has vaulted him to the front-runner's spot in polls there.

But he is still struggling to surmount guardedness toward his Mormon faith and his switch to conservative stands on abortion, gay rights and other matters after campaigning in Massachusetts as a moderate on social issues.

"He's come to a lot of those positions late, and there's a lot of concern that he's come to those positions only for political convenience," said Danielle Vinson, associate professor of political science at Furman University in Greenville, S.C.

Another Republican, former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, seems a natural fit for evangelicals: An ordained Southern Baptist minister, he has deep ties to the religious right. But Huckabee's lackluster fundraising so far has made it tough to convince many that he is a viable contender.

For Christian conservatives, a GOP loss of the White House would end eight years of advances under President Bush. He has put two conservatives on the Supreme Court, signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, imposed restrictions on stem-cell research, and put political muscle to work for state bans on same-sex marriage.

Some evangelical leaders expect Christian conservatives to rally behind one Republican alternative to Giuliani once the field of candidates narrows.

Even if Democrats take the White House and keep control of Congress, the religious right is sure to maintain significant clout within the GOP. A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll in June found that 31% of Republicans identified themselves as part of the religious right.

"This is not an auspicious historical moment for the Republican Party or social conservatives, but they will continue to be a formidable force," said political scientist Ted G. Jelen of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Giuliani has remained the leader in national polls of Republican voters in part by showing wider appeal than many anticipated, given his record on social issues (as well as his three marriages). A Gallup survey released Friday found he was the top choice among Republicans who attended church at least once a week.

As the race proceeds, a key question is whether concern among evangelicals over national security could lead many to overlook disagreements with Giuliani. Many have ranked national security as a priority since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and terrorism is the core issue in Giuliani's campaign.

Also in the mix: which candidate stands the best shot at defeating Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), should she win the Democratic nomination.

"Perhaps more than ever, electability is part of the thing that social conservatives are weighing, because the prospect of Hillary Clinton is so disturbing to them," said Gary Bauer, a conservative activist who ran for president in 2000. "They're looking for both the candidate who is closest to their views but also the candidate that they credibly think can win."

Giuliani argues that he fits that bill, even as Bauer and others continue scouting for someone else.

For now, some key evangelical leaders say religious conservatives must soon join forces to back Romney, Thompson or another candidate -- whatever his flaws -- to stop Giuliani.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said the early caucuses and primaries in January would show whether conservative evangelicals understood "that politics is the art of the possible, and you don't make the perfect the enemy of the good."

"Sometimes," he said, "three-quarters of a loaf is better than none."

Comment on this article here!

THE VALUES TEST - Is James Dobson coming around?

The Values Test

by James C. Dobson, Ph.D., founder and chairman

Dr. Dobson says winning an election is important, but not at the expense of our core beliefs.

Reports have surfaced in the press about a meeting that occurred last Saturday in Salt Lake City involving more than 50 pro-family leaders. The purpose of the gathering was to discuss our response if both the Democratic and Republican Parties nominate standard-bearers who are supportive of abortion. Although I was neither the convener nor the moderator of the meeting, I’d like to offer several brief clarifications about its outcome and implications.

After two hours of deliberation, we voted on a resolution that can be summarized as follows: If neither of the two major political parties nominates an individual who pledges himself or herself to the sanctity of human life, we will join others in voting for a minor-party candidate. Those agreeing with the proposition were invited to stand. The result was almost unanimous.

The other issue discussed at length concerned the advisability of creating a third party if Democrats and Republicans do indeed abandon the sanctity of human life and other traditional family values. Though there was some support for the proposal, no consensus emerged.

Speaking personally, and not for the organization I represent or the other leaders gathered in Salt Lake City, I firmly believe that the selection of a president should begin with a recommitment to traditional moral values and beliefs. Those include the sanctity of human life, the institution of marriage, and other inviolable pro-family principles. Only after that determination is made can the acceptability of a nominee be assessed.

The other approach, which I find problematic, is to choose a candidate according to the likelihood of electoral success or failure. Polls don’t measure right and wrong; voting according to the possibility of winning or losing can lead directly to the compromise of one’s principles. In the present political climate, it could result in the abandonment of cherished beliefs that conservative Christians have promoted and defended for decades. Winning the presidential election is vitally important, but not at the expense of what we hold most dear.

One other clarification is germane, even though unrelated to the meeting in Salt Lake City. The secular news media has been reporting in recent months that the conservative Christian movement is hopelessly fractured and internally antagonistic. The Los Angeles Times reported on Monday, for example, that supporters of traditional family values are rapidly “splintering.” That is not true. The near unanimity in Salt Lake City is evidence of much greater harmony than supposed. Admittedly, differences of opinion exist among us about our choices for president.

That divergence is entirely reasonable, now just over a year before the national election. It is hardly indicative of a “splintering” of old alliances. If the major political parties decide to abandon conservative principles, the cohesion of pro-family advocates will be all too apparent in 2008.

(This piece originally appeared as an op-ed in today's New York Times.)

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Planned Parenthood to close 5 killing centers!

Planned Parenthood Will Close Five Michigan Clinics

Planned Parenthood of West Michigan and Northern Michigan is facing a combined 40 percent cut in state and federal funding this year, prompting the closure of five clinics. Facilities in White Cloud and Hart closed Monday; centers in Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Mount Pleasant will close by the end of the year.

"It is good news because Planned Parenthood is America's No. 1 abortion provider and promoter," said Pam Sherstad, director of public information for Right to Life of Michigan. "Women deserve better than Planned Parenthood."

The reduction stems from changes in how the state allocates money. Under the new formula, funds are distributed according to the percentage of recipients below the poverty line. This year, Planned Parenthood will receive $1 million in state and federal funds, down from $1.7 million last year.

Sherstad said there are more than 100 pregnancy and adoption centers in Michigan serving women — centers that are not run by Planned Parenthood.

"We do have the resources in Michigan to help women who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy," she said.

Comment on this blog here!


Giuliani thumbs his nose at God and also the Roman Catholic Church calling their specific requirements for receiving communion "their interpretation". Is it just me or does Giuliani's comments on the Christian faith remind you of something you'd hear from a mindless 9th grader?

Giuliani shrugs off archbishop's criticism, says he's not running for religious office

Some lowlights from the article:

"I'm not running for religious office," Giuliani told reporters during a brief appearance at a coffee bar in a St. Louis suburb.

"I'm not going to debate the opinion of an archbishop of the Catholic Church or an official of the Protestant Church or a rabbi," Giuliani said. "That's an interpretation of religion. They're entitled to their interpretation of religion."

Sorry Giuliani, we won't let these statements go!

When I first read this I thought it was some sort of joke from The Onion or some other comedic fake news website. Keep in mind, this is the presidential candidate that a lot of Republicans and alleged "conservatives" claim is the best pick for the Republican nominee in 2008. This is the best guy!?

Feel free to share comments on Giuliani's abuse of scripture here

Giuliani cites Bible on personal life

- Associated Press Writer

Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani compared the scrutiny of his personal life marked by three marriages to the biblical story of how Jesus dealt with an adulterous woman.

Giuliani 2008 California Republican presidential hopeful and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani takes questions from the media about Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., not seen, outside The Original Pantry restaurant in downtown Los Angeles Friday, Sept. 28, 2007.

In an interview posted online Friday, Giuliani was questioned about his family and told the Christian Broadcasting Network, "I think there are some people that are very judgmental."

Giuliani has a daughter who indicated support for Democrat Barack Obama and a son who said he didn't speak to his father for some time. Giuliani's messy divorce from their mother, Donna Hanover, was waged publicly while Giuliani was mayor of New York.

"I'm guided very, very often about, 'Don't judge others, lest you be judged,'" Giuliani told CBN interviewer David Brody. "I'm guided a lot by the story of the woman that was going to be stoned, and Jesus put the stones down and said, 'He that hasn't sinned, cast the first stone,' and everybody disappeared.

"It seems like nowadays in America, we have people that think they could've passed that test," he said. "And I don't think anybody could've passed that test but Jesus."

In the New Testament story, related in the Gospel of John, Jesus does not actually hold stones. The Pharisees bring Jesus a woman charged with adultery, reminding him the punishment for adultery is stoning. They are testing Jesus in an effort to charge him with breaking the law.

The Gospel reads: "But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, 'Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.'

"... And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders."

Giuliani has insisted his family relationships are private. In 1968, he married his cousin, Regina Peruggi. They divorced 14 years later, and Giuliani obtained an annulment from the Catholic Church on the grounds that as second cousins, they should have received a dispensation to marry.

Giuliani married Hanover in 1984 and they divorced in 2002. He has been married to Judith Nathan since 2003.

Likewise, he says his faith is private, although he evokes his Catholic upbringing on the campaign trail.

He told CBN he believes in God and prays to Jesus for guidance and help.

"I have very, very strong views on religion that come about from having wanted to be a priest when I was younger, having studied theology for four years in college," he said. "It's an area I know really, really well academically.

"... And my personal view of it is I need God's help for everything, and I probably feel that the most when I'm in crisis and under pressure, like Sept. 11, when I was dealing with prostate cancer, or (when) I'm trying to explain death to people, which unfortunately I've had to do so often.

"So it's a very, very important part of my life," he said. "But I think in a democracy and in a government like ours, my religion is my way of looking at God, and other people have other ways of doing it, and some people don't believe in God. I think that's unfortunate. I think their life would be a lot fuller if they did, but they have that right."

Giuliani also addressed a cell phone call he took from his wife, Judith, last week during his speech to the National Rifle Association, an important appearance because Giuliani clashed with the group when he argued for tougher gun control as mayor of New York.

"And quite honestly, since Sept. 11, most of the time when we get on a plane, we talk to each other and just reaffirm the fact that we love each other," he said.

"Sometimes if I'm in the middle of a very, very sensitive meeting, I don't take the call right then; I wait. But I thought it would be kind of nice if I took it at that point, and I'd done that before in engagements, and I didn't realize it would create any kind of controversy," he said.


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