Kim Baldwin, director of The Interfaith Alliance's election year program, states that the religous outreach efforts of the Republicans and the Democrats differed markedly. For Republicans, Baldwin says, "Everyone on the campaign is involved." Further, she says, "Karl Rove is probably the ultimate religious outreach person." Democrats, Baldwin says, deal with faith in "columns" as with other groups--there is a column for labor, for women, for African Americans and so forth. Republicans take a "row" approach, where religion crosses over everything. "I cannot stress enough how aggressive the outreach by the Bush Campaign and the GOP was to get people of faith out to the polls," Baldwin states.2
The major party candidates themselves reflected the difference. BBC Correspondent Justin Webb, quoted in the documentary "George W. Bush: Faith in the White House," stated, "The Bush administration hums to the sound of prayer. Prayer meetings take place day and night." Promotional copy for the documentary also notes that, "Not since Abraham Lincoln has a sitting president talked so much about God." Many articles and a number of books have been written examining President Bush's faith. His expressions of his faith are reflected in public policy, most noticeably in the administration's faith-based initiative > and restrictions on abortion.
Meanwhile, Senator John F. Kerry, a practicing Catholic who reportedly carries a rosary, a prayer book, and a St. Christopher medal on the campaign trail3 and who regularly attends Mass, holds the view of faith that "you wear it in your heart and in your soul, not necessarily on your sleeve."4 Kerry faced some tough challenges when it came to discussing his faith. Conservatives in the Church argued that politicians who favor abortion rights should be denied communion and "should be eliminated from consideration" by voters. Bishop of Colorado Springs Michael J. Sheridan, in a May 2004 pastoral letter wrote, "Any Catholic politicians who advocate for abortion, for illicit stem cell research or for any form of euthanasia ipso facto place themselves outside full communion with the Church and so jeopardize their salvation. Any Catholics who vote for candidates who stand for abortion, illicit stem cell research or euthanasia suffer the same fateful consequences."
While much of the attention post-Election Day focused on the "values vote" and the impact of religious conservatives, America is a country of religious pluralism (a point made throughout the year by the The Interfaith Alliance and its "One Nation. Many Faiths" program). People of faith weighed the candidates' views on abortion and stem cell research, but also on such issues as the war in Iraq and poverty.5 By most accounts, efforts to organize around the latter set of issues were not as effective.
1. See for example this letter from American Conservative Union's David Keene.
2. Kim Baldwin quotes from Nov. 2004 e-mails and conversations.
3. Deborah Caldwell. "Not a Prodigal Son." beliefnet.com.
4. Interview with The Interfaith Alliance, December 13, 2003.
5. See for example the sermon by Rev. Dr. George F. Regas at All Saints Church in Pasadena, California, October 31, 2004.
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life held a post-election press briefing "How the Faithful Voted: Political Alignments & the Religious Divide in Election 2004" on Nov. 17, 2004. (transcript)
David E. Campbell and J. Quin Monson. "The Religion Card: Evangelicals, Catholics, and Gay Marriage in the 2004 Presidential Election." Prepared for delivery at the 2005 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Sept. 1-4, 2005. PDF>
Robert E. Denton, Jr.. "Religion and the 2004 Presidential Campaign." In American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 49, No. 1, 11-31 (Sept. 2005).
Robert E. Denton, Jr.. "Religion, Evangelicals, and Moral Issues in the 2004 Presidential Campaign." In Robert E. Denton, Jr., ed. Aug. 28, 2005. The 2004 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc..
John Clifford Green, Mark
J. Rozell and Clyde Wilcox, eds. September 15, 2006. The
Values Campaign? The Christian Right And the 2004 Elections.
Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
-In the final presidential debate in Tempe, AZ on Oct. 13, 2004 Bob Schieffer asked President Bush and Senator Kerry "what part does your faith play on your policy decisions?" (their responses)
-Observers suggested that the podium at the Republican
National Convention in New York City appeared to bear the shape of
a wooden cross, sending a message to Evangelical supporters.
-Several books have been written on the subject of President Bush's faith:
Paul Kengor. August
17, 2004. GOD AND GEORGE W. BUSH: A Spiritual Life.
New York: ReganBooks
"...presidential scholar Paul Kengor, the author of the acclaimed God and Ronald Reagan, reconstructs the spiritual journey that carried George W. Bush to the White House -- from the death of his sister, which shaped his character, through the conversion experience that changed his life. He offers the most thorough and careful reading of President Bush's public statements about God, Jesus Christ, and the sense of confidence, perspective, and mission that his faith has given him... Matching detailed new research with thoughtful analysis, God and George W. Bush is the definitive look at the spiritual life of this American president."
Author: Paul Kengor, Ph.D., is a professor of political science at Grove City College in Pennsylvania.
David Aikman. April
2004. A MAN OF FAITH: The Spiritual Journey of George W. Bush.
Nashville, TN: W
"The life story of George W. Bush…from reveler to revelation, from a man of good times to a man of deep faith."
Author: David Aikman is a former senior correspondent for Time magazine.
November 2003. THE FAITH OF GEORGE W. BUSH. New York:
"The first book to explore the religious ideals that drive the policies and politics of Bush as president and that have privately shaped Bush as a man."
Author: Stephen Mansfield has authored a number of books including Then Darkness Fled and Forgotten Founding Father, part of a "Leaders in Action" series.
Ted and Audrey Beckett (executive
producers), Charles E. Sellier (supervising producer), David W. Balsinger
(producer). 2004. GEORGE W. BUSH: Faith in the White House
[DVD]. Loveland, CO: Grizzly
George W. Bush: Faith in the White House "clearly shows a caring, compassionate, faith-based President that the world has not seen prior to this documentary... Our behind-the-scenes documentary shows how President Bush ‘walks the talk’ of his faith." "The books upon which the documentary is partially based include David Aikman's A Man of Faith (W Publishing Group), and Tom Freiling's George W. Bush on God and Country (Allegiance Press) plus an interview with Stephen Mansfield, author of The Faith of George W. Bush (Strang Communications)."
Esther Kaplan. October 2004. WITH GOD ON THEIR SIDE: How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy, and Democracy in George W. Bush's White House. New York: The New Press.
"an unholy combination of a born-again president, a burgeoning family-values movement, and the canny political strategies of Karl Rove has delivered to today's Christian fundamentalists an unprecedented influence over American government... As Esther Kaplan shows in this fast-paced investigation, no condom fact sheet or obscure drug advisory panel is too small to escape the roving eyes of Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, or the many other political advisory arms of the evengelical right."
Author: Esther Kaplan is a radio and print journalist and a community activist. She was acting senior editor at The Nation, and has written for The Village Voice, Out and The Nation. As a director for Jews for Racial and Economic Justice in the mid-1990's, she co-authored a report on Jews and the Radical Right.
-Among its 17 coalition pages the Bush-Cheney '04 website had three faith-related pages:
|Nov. 14, 2004|
-The Republican National Committee
website's outreach section listed 39 groups, including six faith-related
Catholic (Martin Gillespie), Evangelical (Drew Ryun), Jewish (Sarah Magruder), Latter-day Saint (Kiahna Sellers), Muslim (Chris Garrett), Orthodox Christian (Sarah Magruder).
-In August 2004 African American clergy
formation of a section 527 organization, the National Faith Based Initiative
Coalition (NFBIC), also referred to as the National Faith Based Coalition
(NFBC), and its endorsement
of President Bush. According to its mission statement, "The NFBC
unites hundreds of this country’s African American religious leaders in
spreading the compassionate conservative message of this great nation."
NFBC's outreach program stated that it would concentrate on nine "Faith
based African American states" (Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
West Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan, Louisiana, Illinois, Arkansas).
Oliver N.E. Kellman, Jr. founding partner of Kellman & Associates,
PC a lobbying, legal, and business development firm in Washington, DC,
served as executive director.
-Text of Bush-Cheney '04 newspaper
Open Letter From Fellow Catholics To John Kerry On Faith & Reason"
(October 20, 2004).
"And let me say it plainly: in that cause, and in this campaign, we welcome people of faith. America is not us and them. I think of what Ron Reagan said of his father a few weeks ago, and I want to say this to you tonight: I don't wear my religion on my sleeve. But faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday. I don't want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side. [cheers] And whatever our faith, whatever our faith one belief should bind us all: The measure of our character is our willingness to give of ourselves for others and for our country."
-Sen. Kerry focused on faith in a speech in Ft. Lauderdale, FL on Oct. 24, 2004.
The Interfaith Alliance's Kim Baldwin observes (11/22/04 e-mail) that "this was his one and only speech where he connected values to a vision and talked about his religion." Baldwin states that "many folks consider this as 'the speech' that should have been given months ago and then made an integral part of his message -- ironically, most voters never heard this speech as it was not covered live. From all accounts, some within the national party urged him to give this speech in the Spring and it took the campaign 6 months to finally give it.... I believe it was at the urging of Mike McCurry."
-Key Kerry-Edwards 2004 staff
Mara Vanderslice, announced as the Kerry campaign's director of religious outreach on April 19, 2004, had previously handled religious outreach for Howard Dean's Iowa caucus campaign. Her experience included work at Jubilee 2000, the movement for third world debt relief, and an internship at Sojourners. She came severe attack from the conservative Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
Jay K. Footlik served as Senior Advisor on Middle East and Jewish Affairs for the Kerry campaign. He previously served as Director of Community Outreach (Jewish Community) for Joe Lieberman for President, Inc. and was President Clinton's Special Liaison to the Jewish Community (more formally Special Assistant to the President in the White House Office of Public Liaison).
George Kivork served as National Director of Ethnic Outreach for the Kerry-Edwards campaign. Shahid Ahmed Khan, who served as Kerry's National Finance Co-Chair, was one of the most prominent Muslim advocates for Kerry. He was born in Pakistan and works at Novartis. Mona Mohib was another prominent supporter.
-The Kerry-Edwards 2004 website listed 29 online communities, including two faith-related ones:
|Nov. 14, 2004|
-"Michigan Catholics for Kerry" letter
sheet sent out by the Michigan State Democratic Committee. [pdf]
-On July 23, 2004 the
Committee announced appointment of Rev. Brenda Bartella Peterson,
an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), as
its Senior Advisor for Religious Outreach; however she resigned Aug. 4,
2004 amid controversy. Peterson had signed on an amicus curiae brief
favoring removal of the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance
in a recent U.S. Supreme Court case. By the fall Alexia Kelley
was serving as the DNC's Director of Religious Outreach. She worked
for some years at the Catholic Campaign for Human Development earned Master's
degree in theological studies from Harvard University. On Oct. 7,
2004 The DNC announced a KerrySharesOurValues.org website.
-On Oct. 30 and 31, 2004 People of Faith for Kerry, an independent group in West Virginia, ran a newspaper ad citing Matthew 7:16 (“Ye shall know them by their fruits”) in a number of newspapers in the state.
M O R E
Interfaith Alliance (www.interfaithalliance.org)
The Interfaith Alliance describes itself as "the nonpartisan advocacy voice of the interfaith movement." TIA and the Interfaith Alliance Foundation conducted a fairly extensive election year program "One Nation, Many Faiths. Vote 2004." Activities included:
-Organized four "Forums on Religion in the 2004 Elections."
-Organized "Call To a Faithful Decision Weekends" the last two weekends of the campaign.
-Urged both major party candidates to "dismantle completely the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives." (July 14, 2004 letter)
-During the primary campaign, TIA conducted video interviews with eight of the Democratic candidates, elucidating their views on faith and politics.
-TIA suggested five questions as starters to ask candidates (1) What role should and does your religious faith and values play in creating public policy? (2) What are your views on the Constitutional guarantee of the separation of church and state? (3) What active steps have you taken and will you continue to take to show respect for the variety of religious beliefs among your constituents? (4) Should a political leader’s use of religious language reflect the language of his/her religious tradition, or be more broadly inclusive? (5) How do you balance the principles of your faith and your pledge to defend the Constitution, particularly when the two come into conflict?
United for Separation of Church and State
AU continued its efforts to stop electioneering in churches through its Project Fair Play. (July 21, 2004, Oct. 26, 2004 press releases). See also AU's publication "Religion, Partisan Politics And Tax Exemption: What Federal Law Requires – And Why" >>
|-Sojourners, "a Christian ministry whose mission is to proclaim and practice the biblical call to integrate spiritual renewal and social justice," in August 2004 launched a petition declaring that "God is not a Republican...or a Democrat." This appeared as a full page ad in the Aug. 30, 2004 New York Times (paid for by nearly 3,500 supporters of Sojourners magazine) and later in other newspapers.|
-National Council of Churches'
Principles in an Election Year" (July 14, 2004)
-The United Church of Christ put together and "Our Faith Our Vote" campaign "designed to provide ideas and resources to help members of the faith community participate in and shape the democratic process."
-American Friends Service Committee organized
"Lighting the Path for Democracy" candlelight vigils on Election eve "to
show that democracy matters, call for clean elections, and encourage people
to vote on November 2." It reported that people in 127 communities
in the United States and overseas held vigils.
-The Christian Coalition of America sponsored
Citizenship Sunday voter registration drives and as in past elections distributed
its voter guides [PDF].
These were criticized by Americans United for Separation of Church and
State ("clearly partisan propaganda) and The Interfaith Alliance ("misleading").
-On October 31, 2004, the Sunday before
the election, Rev. Dr. George F. Regas, rector emeritus, delivered a sermon
at All Saints Church in Pasadena, California titled "If Jesus debated
Senator Kerry and President Bush." The IRS sent a letter to the church
on June 9, 2005 putting into question its tax exempt status on the grounds
that the sermon "may constitute intervention in a political campaign."
This investigation was still continuing as of September 2006 and church
officials, believing their First Amendment rights were being violated,
moved to challenge IRS summons in court.
|July 19, 2004||Aug. 9, 2004||June 8, 2004|
"iVoteValues.com was developed by For Faith & Family of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention in partnership with Details Communications." It is sponsored by Christianity.com. In mid-June iVoteValues.com launched a Mobile Voter Registration Rig and Information Center (tractor-trailer rig) starting out at the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Indianapolis.
of Faith (www.americansoffaith.org)
"Americans of Faith is conducting an extensive, non-partisan voter registration and mobilization drive called OPERATION VOTE, designed to help Christians and the nation's communities of faith fully participate in the life of the nation. Research indicates that up to 30% of Evangelical Christians are not registered to vote or failed to vote in the 2000 election. This has created an urgent need for a registration and mobilization project - a need Americans of Faith seeks to fill through Operation Vote." Founded in 2004 by Christian leaders Ed Atsinger and Jay Sekulow, Americans of Faith is a non-profit 501-c organization.
|Sept. 8, 2004||Nov. 13, 2004|
"We are currently in the BIGGEST WAR
in American History, and it is NOT the war against terrorism. We're fighting
a CULTURE WAR for the minds and souls of our citizens. As we watch, our
moral foundation—based on God's Word—is being dismantled before our eyes.
"As the Psalmist asks, "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3) One thing the righteous can do is to work to see that our President is someone who recognizes the need to maintain Biblical standards. Our President is not perfect, but I believe he is a praying man and he wants to preserve those moral absolutes that made us great."
- "a faith-based, independent resource providing educational materials
and action tools in support of the Kerry/Edwards campaign." The site
bears a Gaithersburg, MD address.
-The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement "Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility" in September 2003.
-On Oct. 31, 2004 Bishop
of Arlington (VA) Paul S. Loverde issued a letter
outlining "the critical principles by which we should judge those who run
for elected office, particularly the protection of human life." Bishop
of Wheeling-Charleston (WV) Bernard W. Schmitt issued a similar letter
on Oct. 20, 2004.
which describes itself as "the nation's largest Catholic lay-run evangelization
and apologetics organization in North America" reported distributing over
a million copies of its "Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics." Karl
Keating, founder and president of Catholic Answers, described five key
issues--abortion, homosexual marriage, embryonic stem cell research, human
cloning, and euthanasia--as "non-negotiable" and stated that, "Candidates
who are wrong on any of the five non-negotiables should be eliminated from
consideration." The effort gained national attention with a full-page
ad in the Aug. 31, 2004 USA Today.
-On May 1, 2004 Bishop of Colorado Springs Michael J. Sheridan issued a pastoral letter on the "duties of Catholic politicians and voters." He wrote,
There must be no confusion in these matters. Any Catholic politicians who advocate for abortion, for illicit stem cell research or for any form of euthanasia ipso facto place themselves outside full communion with the Church and so jeopardize their salvation. Any Catholics who vote for candidates who stand for abortion, illicit stem cell research or euthanasia suffer the same fateful consequences.On May 27, 2004 Americans United for Separation of Church and State took issue with Sheridan's letter, calling on the Internal Revenue Service to investigate electioneering by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs.
|June 16, 2004||Sept. 17, 2004||Nov. 13, 2004|
www.catholicsforkerry.org - "As Catholics for Kerry, we strongly believe in the dignity of life, and therefore we believe in helping the poor and homeless, protecting American jobs, a strong economy that helps all families and children, protecting our environment, affordable health care, effectively ending terrorism, defending the Constitution, law and order, defending the homeland, a strong military, respecting Catholic Just War principles, and restoring America's credibility in the world. We think these policies truly protect the dignity and sanctity of life. Since we are not one issue voters, Catholics for Kerry 04 believe that John Kerry and John Edwards represent the majority of our issues and views." President of Catholics for Kerry is SK Robert McFadden (Knights of Columbus - Columbus, OH). The Advisory Board also includes Rev. William John Fitzgerald (Arizona), Rev. C. Gregory Jones, C.S.V. (Columbus, OH), Rev. Michael Flynn - MA, MDiv (Charlotte, NC), William H. Weiss,MA - Ambassador of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (Duvall, WA), Patrick Whelan MD PhD (Harvard Medical School - Boston MA), Jana C. Richardson JD (Columbus, OH), Mary A. Parker JD (Nashville TN), Annette Pritchard (Catholics for Peace - Oregon), Linda R. Flynn (Spiritual Director & Religious Educator - Charlotte NC), Lynne Kelly (Graphic Design - South Carolina), Tim Steineman (USAF - Veterans for Kerry - Ohio).
www.thecatholicvote.org - Catholics for Political Responsibility: "We are a group of lay and religious Catholics who feel compelled by our Faith to speak out against the moral failures of the Bush administration. We aim to hold the President accountable for his policies and seek to cut through the false pious rhetoric that we so often hear. We believe that our nation and government should support the life and dignity of human person in all of its forms and stages, promote the common good, work to ensure human rights for all, make decisions on a preferential option for the poor, promote peace, be good stewards of creation, and live in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in our global community. We recognize the moral obligation of civic participation and follow the Bishops call to weigh all of the issues and positions of candidates as well as their performance." CPR had a ten person advisory board co-chaired by Dr. Sidney Callahan, who holds the Paul J. McKeever Chair of Moral Theology, St. John's University, Queens, NY, and Dr. David O'Brien, Loyola Professor of Roman Catholic Studies at the College of the Holy Cross. A volunteer staff of five included director Tom Carroll, who works for Restructuring Associates in Washington, DC, and outreach coordinator Jose Vilanova, an adjunct professor of Religion and Political Science at Florida International University in Miami. CPR produced four radio ads that aired on 45 stations in five states in late October.
-Text of Bush-Cheney '04 newspaper ad "An Open Letter From Fellow Catholics To John Kerry On Faith & Reason" (October 20, 2004).
-"Michigan Catholics for Kerry" letter and fact sheet sent out by the Michigan State Democratic Committee. [pdf]
|all Nov. 13, 2004|
jewsforkerry.org - "An Unofficial Place for the Jewish Community to Support John Kerry" PHP-Nuke engine. Postings and comments. Counter showed 38221 on Nov. 13.
www.jewsforkerry.com - Website founded in summer 2004 by Ari Hoffnung of New York City. Hoffnung's bio notes he is "a proud Jewish democrat...a life-long community activist and a veteran of several democratic political campaigns...currently a Vice-President with Bear, Stearns, & Co. Inc."
- "Operation Bubbe is an effort to recruit 100 Jews from safe states unhappy
with the Bush administration to travel to South Florida for election day
and the preceding weekend to help Jewish retirees to the polls. The
participants will be volunteering with America Coming Together."
According to the Oct. 25 article
"Kitchen politics: Debate over candidatesheats up in shuls, homes and chat
rooms" by Uriel Heilman (published on JTA.org) Operation Bubbe was the
idea of Mik Moore ("a Reconstructionist Jew who lives in Manhattan") and
March 21, 2004
March 28, 2004
-A coalition of Muslim groups announced formation of the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT) on Feb. 17, 2004. On Oct. 21, 2004 AMT-PAC gave a "qualified endorsement" to Sen. Kerry.
Public Affairs Council's "Non-Endorsement"
(Oct. 20, 2004).
-The Council on American-Islamic
Relations (CAIR) was active in a number of states including Ohio
|Nov. 13, 2004|
-One of the more active areas
of discussion online was the MWU!
(muslimwakeup.com) Elections blog.
Beliefnet.com's Faith and Politics: Election 2004
Copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.