Barack Obama is doing a wonderful job of courting the respect and even the support of evangelicals and conservative Catholics. He has also not hesitated to make unheard of promises to another key voting bloc: pro-Israel Jews.
Along with ads targeting evangelicals made possible by the enormous amount of money he is raising to finance his campaign, there is no doubt that there are numerous signs that Obama means to be elected President this November with the support of a broad cross-section of the American public. Is it possible for one of the most liberal politicians on the national scene today to build an alliance which stretches far beyond the confines his voting record might suggest?
It certainly is. That’s what politics is all about. Here is a partial list of the Christian leaders he met privately with on Tuesday:
(1) Rich Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), an umbrella organization for evangelical churches and ministries
(2) Evangelical author Max Lucado of San Antonio
(3) Paul Corts, current president of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), a consortium of evangelical institutions of higher learning; Corts was an assistant attorney general in George W. Bush’s first term
(4) Rev. Luis Cortes of Esperanza USA, another evangelical, representing about 10,000 Hispanic churches and community groups
(5) Rev. Franklin Graham, son of Rev. Billy Graham
(6) Bishop T.D. Jakes, a prominent black evangelical, author, and pastor of a Dallas megachurch
(7) Cameron Strang, founder of Relevant Media, the publisher of the hip Christian magazine and related web site Relevant, “covering God, Life and Progressive Culture”
(8) Conservative Catholic constitutional lawyer Doug Kmiec, an abortion opponent who worked in the Reagan and Bush I administrations, was denied Communion in April at a Mass for Catholic business people because he endorsed Obama
(9) Rev. Stephen Thurston, head of the National Baptist Convention of America, a historically black denomination, pastor of the New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago's South Side
(10) Rev. T. Dewitt Smith, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, the denomination to which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. belonged
(11) Bishop Phillip Robert Cousin Sr., an African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) clergyman and former NAACP board member
Joshua Dubois, the Obama campaign's director of faith outreach, said the meeting included "prominent evangelicals and other faith leaders" who "discussed policy issues and came together in conversation and prayer."
Cizik said the issues discussed Tuesday included "protecting the traditional family, same-sex marriage, gay rights, religious freedom, genocide, poverty and hunger in America, and how we might even improve America's standing in the world."
He said he told Obama: "Religious Americans want to know why is it you love this country and what it stands for and how we can make it better."
Cizik said participants agreed not to give specifics of Obama's responses to their questions, but that "there was nothing softball about this meeting and that's the way he said he wanted it."
Sources: wire services