"Religious Right" Energized By McCain/Palin Ticket

Sarah Palin already has energized conservative religious leaders who had fretted that John McCain would pick an abortion rights supporter as his running mate. The Alaska governor was raised in a Pentecostal church and has called herself "as pro-life as any candidate can be."

To Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religion Liberties Commission, Palin is "straight out of veep central casting." Land said he had urged the McCain camp to consider the political unknown.

Gary Bauer, one of McCain's most enthusiastic evangelical supporters, said the Arizona senator had hit a "grand slam home run" and that adding Palin to the GOP ticket is "guaranteed to energize values voters."

The 44-year-old mother of five, who led her high school chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, was baptized as a teenager at the Wasilla Assembly of God Church, where she and her family were very active, according to her then-pastor, Paul Riley.

She now sometimes worships at the Juneau Christian Center, which is also part of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God, said Brad Kesler, business administrator of the denomination's Alaska District. But her home church is The Church on the Rock, an independent congregation, Riley said.

"The church was kind of a foundation for her," said Riley, who said he gave the invocation at Palin's inauguration and had her address students at the church last month.

Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign, said Palin attends different churches and does not consider herself Pentecostal.

As a politician, Palin has sided with the majority evangelical view in opposing gay marriage and expressing a desire to see creationism discussed alongside evolution in schools.

During a 2006 debate, she said she was a proponent of teaching both evolution and creationism in schools. She later clarified her stance in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, saying that she doesn't think creationism needed to be part of the curriculum and that she would not push the state Board of Education to add such alternatives to the state's required curriculum.

Not only does Palin oppose abortion as a matter of policy, but she chose to give birth to her youngest child, a son, after a prenatal exam indicated Down syndrome. Studies show that about nine in 10 pregnant women who are given a Down syndrome diagnosis have chosen to have an abortion.

"That will resonate in a big way," said Quin Monson, a Brigham Young University professor who studies religion and politics.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, who initially said he could not vote for McCain but has since opened the door to an endorsement, called Palin "an outstanding choice that should be extremely reassuring to the conservative base" of the GOP. Dobson added that the ticket "gives us confidence he will keep his pledges to voters regarding the kinds of justices he would nominate to the Supreme Court."

"It's an absolutely brilliant choice," said Mathew Staver, dean of Liberty University School of Law. "This will absolutely energize McCain's campaign and energize conservatives."

Staver called Palin a "a woman of faith who has a strong position on life, a consistent opinion on judges. ... She's the complete package."

A Pew poll last week showed McCain leading Democrat Barack Obama 68 percent to 24 percent among white evangelical Protestants. But there was little enthusiasm: Only 28 percent of white evangelicals call themselves "strong" supporters of McCain, far short of President Bush's numbers four years ago.

Many evangelical leaders said McCain helped himself with a solid performance at Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, where McCain proclaimed, "I will be a pro-life president."

Mark Silk, who specializes in religion and politics at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., cautioned that while evangelical leaders are praising the Palin pick, it might not necessarily trickle down.

"The question is how this will be received by a lot of rank-and-file evangelicals who are just Americans struggling along, going to their megachurches, and care about values," Silk said.

Some question whether old-guard traditional leaders, like Dobson, hold as much influence as in the past. The evangelical establishment never warmed to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's candidacy, but grass-roots evangelicals contributed to his big win in the Iowa primaries.

Evangelical leaders got worried when McCain floated the possibility of a vice presidential candidate who supports abortion rights, including Sen. Joe Lieberman or former Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge.

By choosing Palin, "McCain is saying to social and religious conservatives, 'I'm taking your views incredibly seriously,'" said Michael Cromartie, director of the evangelical studies program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 10, 2008 at 10:11 AM
    As a democrat voting for the right canidates for this election, I am yet to hear one serious flaw for either McCain or Palin. I see facts on Obama that says no. I see facts on Biden that says not. I don't blindly follow a party like a sheep. Bahhhhhhhh, you should understand that.

  • by The Great Pit Viper on Sep 10, 2008 at 09:07 AM
    To Obama Snake Oil, Believe what ever you want, I don't give a rats A** what you think ok? But I have never had my entire POST EDITED OFF the site before lol
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 10, 2008 at 08:47 AM
    I tried earlier to post a response but the editor took it out. Just to milk the snake venom out of you fangs, you did not post one single lie or fact to support you post other than the "standard" party response "Bush Lied". This means as a viper, a deadly snake, you have no posion, just party rhetoric. This is why liberals have no credibility, they don't know where they stand just that they have one. The one given by other liberals. Not very creative. You must buy snake oil from my company, it cures everything that hurts, makes you feel better and even cures warts. We also sell hurricane seeds and change you can believe in seeds. I need only one lie I can believe in. I have already heard one from Obama, change, I have about $.35 in my pocket and he wants it.
  • by The Great Pit Viper on Sep 9, 2008 at 01:31 PM
    I am a liberal, I am the one liberal that dares to post that "Bush lied" not only that he lied over and over again and again, so baby get over it. Bush is one of the most low life people I have ever known in my life time. I must tell you I was not born yesterday so I have had time to meet a lot of low lives. Most of the people that did work under Bush "GOT THE H**L OUT OF DOGE" hum wonder why, could it be because he is lied 24\7, I think you all need to worry about McBush and stop thinking about your Bush Baby he is a president wannabe, he just never cut it.

  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 9, 2008 at 10:31 AM
    VBush, when Palin was selected it caught them completely with their pants down..no, that was Bill Clinton, another fine example of a liberal. Obama goes toward the center because that is is last chance. I hear Obama's camp is complaining that McCain Palin is using Change in their campaign. I guess Obama got a trademark..no, seems all of the liberals used that remark. Not one liberal dares yet to post about "Bush lied". The correction should read the dems in the house and senate lied. I sure hope the government gets those "change in government seeds" ready soon. There better be some instructions on how to use them. Voter never reads instructions....thanks
  • by VBush Location: MHCY on Sep 8, 2008 at 01:46 PM
    Obama Snake Oil Co.; There are a lot of loons on here, but I enjoy the engagement. I also enjoy when a liberal is obviously enraged by one of my posts. I will have to say that some of them get me going as well. You and Voter had a few folks wound up with your "Hurricane Seed" banter. I enjoyed that. I will say that I listen to what the left has to say, but they make very few arguments that I can support. I will also say that the CNN reporter Cambell Brown, interviewing Tucker Bounds from the McCain camp (last week)made him look like a complete idiot. She was asking legitimate questions and he was doing the left wing two step. Oh well, we can't win them all. When someone posts something about religion ruining this country I just have to overlook them. They don't even have a basic understanding of our history. I notice that every time Obama opens his mouth he moves closer to the center. The far left got him the nomination, but they can't get him elected and he knows it.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 8, 2008 at 12:54 PM
    VBush, I have caught a lot of your postings in several location and find them quite amusing. I posted under Hanna about Hurricane seeds with Voter. A lot of people on this board are a few fries short of a happy meal. One even posted that religion is what is ruining the country. WTH? It is what brought the country together. I guess this person wants the country to go apart. I only post to Trucker to let em know I think for myself and do not follow party lines. Yes, I am a dem, but not a liberal. I have not been brainwashed and become the liberal zombies some of these bloggers are. They need to get an identity. I am glad that Palin's first bill is to open the season on liberals in the US in November.

  • by VBush Location: MHCY on Sep 8, 2008 at 11:13 AM
    Jim, Thanks, coming from you, that makes me feel extremely content.
  • by Jim Location: NC on Sep 7, 2008 at 06:12 AM
    VBush you are nuts
  • by VBush Location: MHCY on Sep 5, 2008 at 08:53 AM
    Obama Snake Oil Co.; You are wasting good brain cells with Trucker. His/Her bumper sticker mentality is as good as he/she will ever get.

275 E. Arlington Blvd. Greenville, NC 27858 252-439-7777
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 27697819 - witn.com/a?a=27697819
Gray Television, Inc.