Can Obama win over Evangelicals?
Dr. Warren ThrockmortonWarren Throckmorton, PhD is Associate Professor of Psychology and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy at Grove City College (PA). He co-founded the Golden Rule Pledge which advocates bullying prevention in evangelical churches. His academic articles have been published by journals of the American Psychological Association and he is past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. He is the author with fellow Grove City College professor, Michael Coulter, of the book, Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims About Our Third President. Over 200 newspapers have published his columns. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2008 Jun 24
As I typed the title, I reflected on several posts months ago focusing on Hillary Clinton. I wondered who pro-life voters should prefer: Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Clinton. Seems silly now, eh?
Lots of Dems preferred Hillary over Barack, but not enough to get her the nomination. On social issues, it matters little because Obama is not much different than Hillary. And so, given that Evangelicals are overwhelmingly pro-life, it seems incredible that they could move toward Obama. However, Obama is reaching out to Evangelicals; for instance, suggesting a meeting with Focus on the Family. Today, James Dobson's Focus on the Family daily broadcast devotes some time to criticize Obama’s use of the Bible in his speeches.
Perhaps Dr. Dobson and company believe Evangelicals could be persuaded by Obama’s references to the Bible and believe some attention is needed to keep them from moving to Obama. While sticking up for a traditional exegesis of the Bible seems reasonable for a Christian radio show, this is moving into political waters.
Once upon a time conservatives were asking, "who would be better, Rudy or Hillary?" Now the question is, "who would be better, McCain or Obama?" Answer not clear? Go read about Obama’s support for the Freedom of Choice Act and then think about the Supreme Court nominees a President Obama might select.
If pro-life, Evangelical leaders want to really impact things, my advice would be to do more than criticize Obama. In addition, they should build unambiguous, public bridges to McCain, based on the positions he holds which matter to religious conservatives. Don’t wait for McCain to do it on your terms, just do it. Otherwise, pro-lifers should be quite nervous that Evangelicals will either sit this one out or jump on the Obandwagon.