All posts from “July 2008”

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July 28, 2008

Faith-Based Initiatives' Democratic Forbears?

In her column for USA Today's Monday religion slot, TIME mag editor/Democratic faith expert Amy Sullivan reveals the surprising history behind George W. Bush's White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. In arguing for the expansion of the program, Barack Obama isn't simply co-opting one of Bush's signature programs; it turns out that he's reclaiming an idea with some well-established Democratic roots:

For decades, religiously affiliated organizations like Lutheran Social Services and United Jewish Communities received, without a hint of controversy, government funds to provide social services.

When candidate Bush pledged in his first campaign speech in 1999 to "rally the armies of compassion," he was not blazing new ground but rather following in the steps of Bill Clinton, whose Cabinet secretaries had worked closely with religious nonprofits and Al Gore, who had endorsed the funding of faith-based organizations six months earlier. Even the most conservative aspect of Bush's faith-based plan -- the expansion of tax incentives to encourage charitable giving -- already had been championed by Hillary Clinton at a White House conference on philanthropy.

The problem for Democrats emerged when Bush shifted tactics -- holding up the idea of a faith-based initiative not just as evidence of his "compassionate conservatism," but also to forge the argument that Democrats were hostile to religion.

The Democratic Party made a key tactical error in 2000 by not rebutting Bush's attacks on Clinton as a secular liberal who discriminated against religious communities. Instead, Gore's supporters took the bait and charged that Bush's support for faith-based initiatives was an inappropriate mixing of religion and politics. At the same time, Gore's advisers persuaded him to back away from promoting partnerships between government and religious non-profits.

By the time Bush established a new White House Office for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in his second week after moving into the Oval Office, many liberals had forgotten the idea ever had bipartisan support. Bill Moyers decried the office as a tool to funnel money to Bush supporters -- "slush funds." That was at least less frightening than the other popular liberal belief: that the faith-based initiative was evidence of a creeping theocracy.

Another reminder that, while the God Gap between the Democratic and Republican parties dates back to domestic cultural revolutions of the 1960s and to the subsequent rise of the Religious Right, it reached chasm status under the current presidential administration. And not just because of Bush. The mounting influence of secular liberals in the Democratic Party also happened over decades.

Continue reading Faith-Based Initiatives' Democratic Forbears?...

July 24, 2008

Evangelicals by Region

The latest Quinnipiac poll on the presidential race in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin suggests that there may be a regional aspect to the evangelical vote worth keeping an eye on. In Colorado, evangelicals are backing McCain over Obama by a whopping 78 percent to 16 percent. That's substantially better than the 74-24 margin by which Bush beat Kerry in 2004. But in the Upper Midwest, McCain's margin is much lower: 60-27 in Michigan, 62-30 in Minnesota, and just 54-34 in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the 2004 exit polls failed to ask the evangelical question in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but in Michigan Bush's margin was 76-24--which means that Obama is running well ahead of Kerry there at this point. The hypothesis, then, is that Obama the Born Again Midwesterner has a greater appeal to Midwestern evangelicals than he does to evangelicals in other parts of the country--or at least than to the Dobsonian evangelicals of the Mountain West. Let's see whether future polls bear this out?

This article is cross-posted from Spiritual Politics.

July 24, 2008

Religious Left is Growing Up Faster than Religious Right Did

The Matthew 25 Network, a new faith-based political action committee started by John Kerry's 2004 faith outreach director, is preparing to launch its second pro-Barack Obama radio ad this week, the group's founder and director said on a conference call with reporters today. Matthew 25 will be spending $500,000 to broadcast the ad on Christian radio in Ohio, Colorado, and Michigan, with hopes of airing it in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Missouri down the road. Technical difficulties prevented the ad from being broadcast on the call, but Matthew 25 chief Mara Vanderslice (pictured) said she expected the ad to be ready later today.

God-o-Meter realizes that Barack Obama might face an uphill climb among religious voters because of the false rumors that he's Muslim and over his liberal stances on social issues like abortion and gay rights. In the primaries, Hillary Clinton trounced him among white evangelicals and Catholics in many places.

But God-o-Meter noticed two things on today's Matthew 25 call that could make it more successful than some other faithy progressive outfits:

Continue reading Religious Left is Growing Up Faster than Religious Right Did...

July 24, 2008

McCain's Evangelical Moment?

John McCain and Barack Obama have accepted invitations to sit down with Purpose-Driven Life author Rick Warren at his Saddleback Church for public (and open-media) interviews just before next month's big nominating conventions. David Brody sees the forum as presenting John McCain a golden opportunity to have an "evangelical moment," wherein the Arizona senator can finally come out forcefully on two key issues: life (i.e. against abortion rights) and marriage (i.e. against gay unions):

[W]ith Obama there as well, he has a MAJOR opportunity to clearly showcase the differences between the two candidates on social issues. He can talk about the unborn baby and the abortion issue; he can talk about his support for the California Constitutional Marriage Amendment.... It's McCain's clearest opportunity yet to paint himself as a "friend" of the Evangelical community.

God-o-Meter is skeptical that he'll seize this opportunity. The press release for Warren's summit makes clear that his questions will focus on four areas: poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate, and human rights. Warren is sending the clear message, in other words, that he won't be fixating on hot button issues. So it could be up to McCain, as Brody to bring those issues up himself, which Brody acknowledges. The record show that one of the Christian Right's major gripes about McCain is his habit of completely ignoring those issues unless he's asked about them point blank. So what are the chances he departs from that at Saddleback, especially when his interlocutor--Warren--is out to bridge the country's ideological differences?

Pretty small, God-o-Meter thinks. But he has been bulking up his ranks of faith advisors, and maybe they'll get through to McCain in the month before he sits down with Warren. But there are risks involved: McCain could look like he's pandering--or come off as a divider at a "unity" event.

This article is cross-posted from Beliefnet's God-o-Meter.

July 24, 2008

Will Evangelicals Accept Obama's Vision of Christianity?

I was listening James Dobson's recent radio broadcast in which he announced that he's considering endorsing McCain. The program, a conversation with conservative radio host Al Mohler, focused mostly on Obama's "extreme" positions on abortion and homosexuality.

But the most interesting part was their criticism of Obama's theology. They both recommended that evangelicals should read the recent Newsweek cover story on Obama's faith. Dobson says it shows that Obama believes in "liberation theology."
Mohler summarized it a bit more precisely: "He really believes that Christianity can be a functional impetus towards social change in a liberal direction. I don't think they that's what most evangelical Christians think of when they think of a basic understanding of Chirsitanity."

Fascinating. It may be that part of what determines how many Christians become Obamagelicals is how they interpret Christianity.

Continue reading Will Evangelicals Accept Obama's Vision of Christianity?...

July 24, 2008

Dobson Might Endorse McCain

The AP reports:

Conservative Christian leader James Dobson has softened his stance against Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, saying he could reverse his position and endorse the Arizona senator despite serious misgivings.

"I never thought I would hear myself saying this," Dobson said in a radio broadcast to air Monday. "... While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might."

...."There's nothing dishonorable in a person rethinking his or her positions, especially in a constantly changing political context," Dobson said in a statement to the AP. "Barack Obama contradicts and threatens everything I believe about the institution of the family and what is best for the nation. His radical positions on life, marriage and national security force me to reevaluate the candidacy of our only other choice, John McCain."

Earlier, Dobson had said he could not in good conscience vote for McCain, citing the candidate's support for embryonic stem cell research and opposition to a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, as well as concerns about McCain's temper and foul language.

Could this be the best of all possible worlds for McCain? He's able to reap a possible endorsement from an evangelical heavy who'd previously denounced him without having to risk tarnishing his independent/maverick reputation by having to grovel for Dobson's support. Good deal.

This article is cross-posted from Beliefnet's God-o-Meter.

July 14, 2008

May not share which views?

In his interview with NYT's Adam Nagourney and Michael Cooper last week, John McCain almost revealed a religious belief. Here's the relevant exchange.

Q: Do you consider yourself an evangelical Christian?

Mr. McCain: I consider myself a Christian. I attend church, my faith has sustained me in very difficult times. But I think it depends on what you call a quote evangelical Christian. Because there are some people who may not share my views on – I mean, that covers a lot of ground. But I certainly consider myself a Christian.

Q: How often do you go to church?

Mr. McCain: Um, not as often as I should. When Cindy and I are in Phoenix, we attend. We’ve been fortunate enough the last few weeks to be in Phoenix. During the primary before that we were not back in Phoenix much so – again, not as frequently as I would like. I do appreciate the pastor of the North Phoenix Baptist Church, his name is Dan Neary (SP) [sic, actually Yeary], and I talk to him frequently on the phone and I appreciate his spiritual guidance. He’s a great believer in redemption.

What are the views that some evangelicals might not share? The only hint, if hint it is, comes at the end of the passage; and if I had to guess, I'd say that McCain has a somewhat more universalistic view of salvation than strict evangelical doctrine provides. Why?

In the interview, McCain calls Rev. Yeary "a great believer in redemption." (He's done this at other times as well.) As opposed to what? A Baptist pastor who doesn't believe in redemption or one who believes that redemption is possible in ways we might not understand? I'd say the latter. Here's what North Phoenix Baptist, a 7,000-member church in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), has to say on the subject:

We believe that Jesus has eternally existed as the Son of God. As a part of the narrative story of God's redemption, Jesus became human. In other words, God became one of us. The church describes this as the Incarnation. The redemption narrative, which we call the Bible, continues as Jesus not only becomes human, but is born to a virgin and lives a sinless, perfect life on earth, allowing him to make right everything that had been done wrong in Adam.

I can find nothing on the church's website comparable to this, from the SBC's Faith and Message:

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

Whether or not Yeary's views on redemption depart from the Faith & Message, his emphasis appears to be on spiritual reconciliation and inclusion, and that clearly appeals to McCain.

If I'm right, McCain's views on salvation may be similar to Barack Obama's--and most Americans'. But it's more problematic these days for a Republican candidate for president to own up to such views than for a Democratic one. Hence the reticence.

This article is cross-posted from Spiritual Politics.

July 14, 2008

Obama Launches 'American Values Report'

The Obama campaign has begun issuing a weekly 'American Values Report,' with the first edition out last Friday. The report is sent as a PDF file via email, so God-o-Meter can't post the whole thing here. But it has chosen a few choice excerpts from the 9-page document, which an Obama aide says was sent to "several thousand" recipients.

The report includes "Meet Barack" and "Meet Michelle" features, information to "Help us Draft a Platform," how to "Become an American Values Supporter!" and how to "Participate in the Values Question of the Week." It also includes "Spotlight On People of Faith" interviews:

Continue reading Obama Launches 'American Values Report'...

July 14, 2008

McCain's evangelical problem, Obama's Catholic one

A new Newsweek poll, which has Obama leading McCain overall by 44 percent to 41 percent, has McCain leading Obama among white evangelicals 60 percent to 23 percent, and among white Catholics 49 percent to 33 percent. That's pretty good news for Obama on the evangelical front, and for McCain on the Catholic one, comparatively speaking. In 2000, white evangelicals preferred Bush over Gore 68-30 and in 2004, Bush over Kerry 78-21. So the Newsweek numbers put Obama in Gore territory. In 2000, white (non-Hispanic) Catholics went for Bush over Gore 52-45 and in 2004, Bush over Kerry 56-43. There, the Newsweek numbers make out McCain as slightly stronger than the 2004 Bush. Bottom line, McCain is indeed in a bit of trouble with the GOP evangelical base and Obama's got something of a white Catholic problem.

This article is cross-posted from Spiritual Politics.

July 11, 2008

McCain's New Ad: God's Children

No, the ad's not about "values" issues. It's about immigration. In it, John McCain calls all immigrants--legal and illegal--"God's children." Is this Sam Brownback's hand at work? Brownback has for years talked about every person--including the unborn--as being a "sacred, unique child of a living God." McCain, for his part, has been a lot less prone to talk that way. Could Brownback be playing a stepped up role after all the criticism McCain received for his anemic religious outreach?

This article is cross-posted from Beliefnet's God-o-Meter.

July 11, 2008

Gallup: God Gap Still Wide. GOP Still Benefits.

Another day, another reminder that the God gap in the electorate heavily favors John McCain, even as Barack Obama screams his faith from the rooftops and McCain wears his close to his vest. A new Gallup poll analysis shows that Americans who say faith is important to their lives--about two thirds of the country--favor McCain over Obama 50-percent to 40-percent.

Among white Protestants who say religion is important in their daily lives--Gallup doesn't say how much of the electorate this represents, but it's a huge block--the Gap grows even wider: McCain enjoys a 36-point lead there.

These are pretty stark stats, but it would be helpful to have some historical comparison. After all, the strongly religious have been the GOP's base now for decades. God-o-Meter will follow up with Gallup and report back.

This article is cross-posted from Beliefnet's God-o-Meter.

July 11, 2008

Giving Back Before You're Elected

Three months ago, Tom Perriello, the Democratic challenger in Viriginia's fifth congressional district, announced that his campaign workers would be required to spend a tenth of their time doing volunteer work.

Previous campaigns have done the odd bit of community service, but this appears to be the first to make it an integral part of the enterprise, and to couch it in religious terms as a form of tithing. By the end of this weekend, the campaign expects to have logged 300 hours of tithed volunteer work.

In line with the ancient and pretty honorable principle of doing well by doing good, the effort has gotten a lot of positive attention from the press, most recently in a Christian Science Monitor article by Gail Russell Craddock. To be sure, Craddock doesn't omit to include a snide swipe from David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report; to wit: "Perriello has a great profile in a very liberal district in Boulder, Colo., but that's not Virginia's Fifth." But the campaign couldn't have asked for more than it got by way of a quote from Larry Campbell, assistant pastor at Bible Way Cathedral in Danville:

"I've had many political candidates come through, but I've never had any work along with us in the area of social-action changes," he says, citing ongoing help from Perriello volunteers. "Most candidates who are running for national office have more programs just getting people out voting for them, but to give back to the community is a heavy statement for social change."

This article is cross-posted from Spiritual Politics.

July 10, 2008

CT Readers Moving Towards Obama

Well, according to our online poll.

Christianity Today online readers showed more support for Sen. Barack Obama than Sen. John McCain in our poll this week for the first time since January.

Obama passed McCain (41%) by garnering 51 percent of the vote during our poll that closed yesterday. In June, McCain led Obama 50 to 33 percent. The two were tied in March at 26 percent.

Here's a rundown of results from Jan. 4 (1,613 votes), March 3 (1964 votes), April 1 (2,668 votes), June 9 (3,007 votes), and July 10 (3,189 votes). Be sure to take the polls with a grain of salt - they are conducted online and are usually left up for about three days.

This graph is also cross-posted at Christianity Today's liveblog.

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July 9, 2008

Some Evangelicals Don't Want to be 'Stuck' Again

Even though about 100 evangelicals met last week in Denver to discuss supporting Sen. John McCain, some of them are just as anxious not to be caught with another candidate like him, according to Dan Gilgoff at God-O-Meter.

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Denver meeting's organizer, Mathew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law told Gilgoff that much of the Denver meeting was focused on building a long-term strategy for the Christian Right to avoid getting stuck with another someone like McCain, a candidate which some evangelicals have found wanting.

"When you compare McCain to Obama, there's no choice... [McCain] might not represent everything you want in a candidate, but Obama would decimate our values," Staver told Gilgoff. "There's definitely a concern among evangelicals that [Obama]] might see some come to his side because of his rhetoric of change."

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July 9, 2008

If you need a break

Don't forget that there's also a congressional race this November.

Just in case you forgot, CT editor at large Collin Hansen reminds us that there is another election this fall.

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Hansen writes that the congressional races are expected to go to the Democrats once again, as they are nominating faith-friendly social moderates in some conservative congressional districts. Eric Sapp, senior partner at Common Good Strategies, an organization that helped three key Democratics win in 2006, told Hansen that he predicts another landslide for the Democrats.

"That will be really significant, perhaps most importantly because the Democrats that have been winning and will be coming into Congress are much more 'faith-friendly' and tend to come from strong faith backgrounds themselves."

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July 9, 2008

Hispanic Evangelicals

In the wake of yesterday's LULAC meeting, the Obama campaign was on the phone with 30 Hispanic evangelical pastors this a.m., and Brody's got the story. Hispanic evangelicals have been an interesting swing vote over the past few election cycles, going to the GOP in the early part of the decade and then edging back into the Democratic column in the 2006 congressional vote. They are not, in a word, the solid Democratic constituency that their Catholic brethren are. They represent 2.7 percent of the population (as opposed to Latino Catholics' 4.2 percent), and it looks like Obama's well on his way to locking them up.

This article is cross-posted from Spiritual Politics.

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July 9, 2008

To the Left

On NBC's "Today," Obama sought to counter charges that he is triangulating himself into the center by pointing out, among other things, that he has consistently supported faith-based initiatives. This may be an area, however, where he has made an adjustment to the left. In The Audacity of Hope, he writes:

[O]ne can envision certain faith-based programs--targeting ex-offenders or substance abusers--that offer a uniquely powerful way of solving problems and hence merit carefully tailored support. (p. 221)

Now saying that such faith-based programs are "uniquely" qualified can only mean that they incorporate religion into the treatment plan--something secular service providers can't do. And that therefore they offer something that employees not committed to the particular religious program can't supply. In short, this would seem to be an oblique endorsement of a hiring exemption from religious non-discrimination rules for at least some faith-based providers. And that's something Obama seemed explicitly to rule out last week. For those evangelicals and other embracers of the Bush approach who expected something more congenial from Obama, it appears they had some reason to be disappointed.

This article is cross-posted from Spiritual Politics.

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July 9, 2008

At One Evangelical College, Some Considering Obama

Reporters are looking for any indication of how evangelicals are going to vote this November, and what better way than to go to where evangelicals live and breathe with each other every day.

Tina Chong writes for the Huffington Post that a small group of faculty and staff members at Westmont College hosted an "Evangelicals for Obama" meeting last month.

The headline might be a stretch, considering Chong only visited one evangelical school: "Evangelicals Contemplating Obama." I doubt the students of Gordon College in Massachusetts are going to vote the same as students from Westmont in California. Plus, the small sample she observed? There were only about 15 of them.

Still, I won't be surprised if we see more reports popping up about other evangelical colleges once school begins.

July 8, 2008

Obama at the AME

Now up on YouTube, Obama's speech to the African Methodist Episcopal Convention in St. Louis Saturday continues the theme of service that he spoke of in his earlier addresses last week. The Fourth of July could not be, he said a "passive celebration," but had to involve "service, and sacrifice and each of us doing our part to leave our children a world that is kinder and more just." And just as that could not be "an idle celebration," so "our faith cannot be an idle faith...It must be an active faith."

Beginning with the importance of helping those in need with the right domestic policies and programs, Obama went on to stress the need for African Americans not to be content with blaming its troubles on racism: "I'm not interested us in adopted the posture of victim.... [W]e cannot use injustice as an excuse. We cannot use poverty as an excuse." His support for faith-based institutions was, he said, "how we match societal responsibility with individual responsibility."

In the current issue of Religion in the News, Steve Warner nicely elucidates this classic black-church synthesis of collective and personal obligation, which cuts across conventional American political categories of left and right. Here Obama makes clear not only how faith-based programs express this synthesis but why they represent the moral core of his campaign.

One might add that the synthesis is not only classically black but also classically Methodist. And it can be found not only in Methodist denominations like the AME Church but also, as a kind of moral undertone, in the public culture of the Midwest. A tip of the hat to Mark Noll for this insight, which he discusses in his chapter in Religion in Public Life in the Midwest and we discuss in the Midwest chapter in One Nation, Divisible.

This article is cross-posted from Spiritual Politics.

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July 7, 2008

What's in a Name?

Obama's campaign has dropped 'Joshua Generation' name.

The Home School Legal Defense Assocation said today that it is dropping plans to sue Sen. Barack Obama's campaign over the name "Joshua Generation," according to Rebecca Sinderbrand at CNN.

Obama's campaign created the new program to reach evangelical and Catholic young people but told HSLDA it will rename the initiative.

The organization sent the Obama campaign a cease-and-desist letter last month after the campaign announced the "Joshua Generation Project." HSLDA launched the group "Generation Joshua" in 2004 as a way for teenagers to become involved in politics.

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July 6, 2008

Don't get me wrong

Obama clarifies his earlier statements on abortion.

Sen. Barack Obama came out against using "mental distress" as a justification for late-term abortions, and he clarified his position Saturday.

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"Historically, I have been a strong believer in a woman's right to choose, with her doctor, her pastor, her family," he said Saturday. "And I've been consistent in saying you have to have a health exception on any significant restrictions or bans on abortions, including late-term abortions.

"It can be defined by physical health. It can be defined by serious clinical mental health diseases," he continued. But "it's not just a matter of feeling blue."

Julia Duin at the Washington Times writes that conservative black pastors are caught between irreconcilable opposites. Many of the congregations want to back Sen. Barack Obama but have personal doubts about Obama's political views, particularly on abortion.

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July 6, 2008

Can McCain Reach Must-Win Evangelicals?

McCain is reaching out to evangelicals, but is it working?

John McCain seems to be increasing his outreach to evangelicals, recently meeting with religious leaders in Ohio and making a publicized visit with Billy and Franklin Graham.

Ralph Z. Hallow of The Washington Times believes that evangelicals are "flocking to [the] formerly 'unacceptable' candidate." About 100 religious conservatives met in Denver last week, many of whom decided to back McCain.

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Philip Elliott of the Associated Press isn't so sure. "So far, there's been scant sign that the Republican nominee-in-waiting is making inroads among these fervent believers," he writes.

"I don't know that McCain's campaign realizes they cannot win without evangelicals," David Domke, a professor of communication at the University of Washington told Elliot. "What you see with McCain is just a real struggle to find his footing with evangelicals."

Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News writes that the campaign has created Christian-outreach teams in 14 states and is scheduling private meetings with local evangelical leaders. The campaign also has a 1,000-person e-mail list of social conservative and national leaders with influence in local communities.

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July 5, 2008

Just Six Little Words

Obama's efforts to woo evangelical voters may not be as clear cut as they seem.

Sen. Barack Obama told reporters Saturday that he is optimistic about winning the evangelical vote in November.

"If we show up, if we let folks know that we're interested in them and we share a lot of common values, then we're not going to win 100 percent of the evangelical vote. We might not even win 50 percent of the evangelical vote. But we will at least take some of the sharp edges off this divide that's existed in our politics. And that hopefully will allow people to listen to each other, and that will help me govern over the long term."

Obama promised Saturday that he will make "faith-based" social service "a moral center of my administration," according to Jonathan Weisman of the Washington Post.

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Earlier this week, Obama announced that he would increase funds for the office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Although reporters called it an effort to reach out to evangelicals, Peter Steinfels at The New York Times outlines how Obama's speech included six little words that sparked the dispute.

"First," Obama said, "if you get a federal grant, you can't use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help, and you can't discriminate against them - or against the people you hire - on the basis of their religion."

That little phrase between the dashes - "or against the people you hire" - ignited a political explosion, Seinfeld wrote.

There has been an ongoing debate over whether faith-based organizations can discriminate in hiring based on applicants' religious beliefs, a nonnegotiable for many evangelical social-service providers.

When asked whether he would keep the office open, Obama told Christianity Today in January that he wants to see how the moneys have been allocated.

"One of the things that I think churches have to be mindful of is that if the federal government starts paying the piper, then they get to call the tune," Obama told CT. "It can, over the long term, be an encroachment on religious freedom."

Sen. John McCain's spokesperson, Brett O'Donnell, told CT that the Arizona candidate wants faith-based groups to "have at least the same standing as they have now."

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July 5, 2008

Steve Waldman

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Steve Waldman is co-founder, president, and Editor-in-Chief of Beliefnet.com, the largest faith and spirituality website.

Previously, Waldman was National Editor of US News and World Report and National Correspondent for Newsweek.

He is author of Founding Faith: Politics, Providence and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America.

July 5, 2008

Mark Silk

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Mark Silk is professor of religion in public life at Trinity College (Hartford, CT).

He is the founding director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life and founding editor of Religion in the News, a magazine published by the center.

He has written several books, including One Nation, Divisible: How Regional Religious Differences Shape American Politics.

July 5, 2008

Sarah Pulliam Bailey

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Sarah Pulliam Bailey is online editor for Christianity Today, managing the site's content and covering politics.

She can be reached at spulliam@christianitytoday.com or on Twitter.

July 5, 2008

Ted Olsen

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Ted Olsen is managing editor of news & online journalism for Christianity Today.

He used to blog a lot more (including Weblog, a collection of news and opinion articles) than he does now, and is a little frustrated by that.

He is author of Christianity & the Celts and co-author of 131 Christians Everyone Should Know.

July 5, 2008

Dan Gilgoff

God & Country blogger Dan Gilgoff covers religion for U.S. News & World Report.

He is author of The Jesus Machine: How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical America are Winning the Culture War, and is a former politics editor at Beliefnet.

July 5, 2008

More Election 2008 Coverage

This is a new blog for the 2008 election, but Christianity Today also has previous coverage on its liveblog and main site.