Janet's Conner

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Politics: CONSERVATIVES PUT FAITH IN CHURCH VOTER DRIVES

Evangelicals seek to sign up a new flock of GOP supporters with crucial November races.

Los Angeles Times
By: Peter Wilson
August 15, 2006

WASHINGTON---As discontent with the Republican Party threatens to dampen the turnout of conservative voters in November, evangelical leaders are launching a massive registration drive that could help counter the malaise and mobilize new religious voters in battleground states.

***Good luck. Why do they think that 25 million of their voters didn't vote in the 2004 elections? They didn't like Bush because Bush isn't really a conservative. He's a right-wing nut case! Those up for re-election are his lapdogs! Maybe the true conservatives are staying away for a reason.

The program, coordinated by the Colorado-based group Focus on the Family and its influential founder, James C. Dobson, woud use a variety of methods---including information inserted in church publications and booths placed outside worship services---to recruit millions of new voters in 2006 and beyond.

***Isn't this the same guy that was pulling off all of those scandals with Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff? I wouldn't get mixed up with him or his so-called church if you paid me and I suugest the same thing to you people out there!

The effort builds on the aggressive courtship of evangelical voters in 2004 by President Bush's reelection campaign, even as the Internal Revenue Service has announced renewed scrutiny of nonprofit organizations, including churches, that engage in political activities.

***These people aren't into religion. That's only a front! They are into politics and want to make you think that it's all about church. They're not conservatives either. They are the religious right-wing, and you can take it from there!

The new registration program puts a special focus this year on eight states with key Senate, House and state-level races. Turning out core voters is central to the GOP strategy to retain control of Congress, especially as the party struggles with negative public sentiment over the war in Iraq and other administration policies.

***People don't want to vote for anybody that was wrapped up with the Abramoff scandal as the Republicans are. They'd rather stay home. A vote for a Republican is condoning the scandals.

"Anytime you go from a big presidential year like 2004 to an off-year like this, there's going to be a drop-off" in voter interest, said John Paulton of Focus on the Family Action, the political arm of Focus on the Family. "It's a question of how much. You could argue with the fear of what could happen of many more liberal politicians take over could be very motivating to get out and vote as stronly."

***And what is it that could happen if more politicians, other than Republicans get into office? They might investigate Dobson? That's why they are so afraid. Dobson wanted to be paid in cash for working with Abramoff and Ralph Reed so there wasn't a paper trail that would lead back to him! Doesn't that tell you something?

The program, announced in an e-mail to activists last week, is seeking county and church coordinators in the targeted sites of Maryland, Montana, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Minnesota.

"In 2004, about 25 million evangelicals failed to vote. Now is the time to reverse the trend," the e-mail said.

***This is the "real" evangelists. They had plenty reason not to vote in 2004. They didn't want to be part of putting Bush back into office. And this was all before we found out about all of the Bush and Republican lies that put us into Iraq in the first place!

According to the e-mail, county coordinators are being asked to work about 5 hours a week and would be responsible for "recruiting key evangelical churches."

The church coordinators, devoting one or two hours a week, would be in charge of "encouraging pastors to speak about Christian citizenship, conducting a voter-registration drive, distributing voter guides and get-out-the-vote efforts."

Registering voters in churches is not a new tactic for either party, but Republicans have proved far more effective in recent years at combining religion and politics for electoral gain.

Critics say the practice is potentially illegal, citing tax laws that prohibit churches from engaging in partisan activities.

The IRS has launched a program to crack down on violators, with investigations pending against dozens of churches.

The IRS probe with the highest profile is that of All Saints Church in Pasadena, one of Southern California's largest and most liberal congregations.

After a priest delivered a sermon critical of the Iraq war two days before the 2004 presidential election, the IRS began reviewing the Episcopal church's tax-exempt status. No decision has been announced.

***I'd like to know how the IRS found out about that?

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Seperation of Church and State, called the evangelical voter registration drive a "blatant effort by Dobson to build a partisan political machine based in churches."

***And that's exactly what it is. If Dobson was really into "religion," he would know that there are 7 levels of hell and those who gain political power through the church will go to the lowest level in hell. Supposedly, that's the worst level. He doesn't seem to be too worried about that now does he? Who wants to go to hell? Maybe he should practice what he preaches!

"He has made it absolutely clear that electing Republicans is an integral part of his agenda, and he doesn't mind risking the tax exemption of churches in the process," Lynn said. "Dobson wants to be a major political boss, and this is his way to get there."

Organizers of the drive say they pay careful attention to the law---focusing on registering voters and discussions of values, not endorsing a specific candidate or party.

***You have got to be kidding me?

But, they acknowledge, the goal is reaching the conservative base.

***The "real" conservatives don't want to have anything to do with the Republicans. They don't represent them. They have gone to far right!

"Everybody knows where their audience is, and we know who our audience is," said Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community values, an Ohio-based group coordinating voter registration with Dobson's organization.

***Then what happened to your audience in 2004?

"Absolutely we can target who we want to register to vote," he said. "There's nothing that prevents us from doing that."

***They target the weak and uneducated.

He said that in Ohio, where this year's Senate and gubernatorial races are highly competitive, the plan calls for 3 million bulletins detailing voter registration procedures to be placed in publications distributed by 15,000 churches.

The group will also distribute voter guides listing candidates' views on same-sex marriage, abortion, stem cell research and other hot-button issues.

***There they go again! Wedge issues! These are not the things that people are worried about anymore. This issues are at the bottom of the list in the polls. And the people that they are trying to target with this B.S., don't like it anymore. Many of them are much smarter than this!

In 2004, Burress said, his group registered more than 50,000 voters, largely because of a ballot measure seeking a ban on same-sex marriage, a campaign he headed.

This year, a potential ban on same-sex marriage is on the ballot in Tennessee, where there is a competitive Senate race. Legal and political battles are also raging over the issue in three of the other targeted states: Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Maryland.

The Republican Party is escalating its owncourtship of evangelicals, registering voters at Christian rock concerts, state fairs and other events that draw religious activists and core conservatives.

The effort has been completed in several months, though, with Dobson and other evangelical leaders expressing disappointment in Bush and the Republican leadership.

***Don't let them kid you!

They were pleased with Bush's nominations of John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court, but distressed by Congress' failure to approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and its support of expanded federal spending on embryonic stem cell research.

Bush used the first veto of his presidency on the stem cell bill, a move that some viewed as an effort to mobilize evangelicals.

***That was a really stupid move.

In May, Dobson warned the GOP that trouble might lie ahead, holding a series of meetings with party strategists and members of Congress to remind them of the evangelical movement's muscle.

"There's just very, very little to show for what has happened," Dobson said on Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes" show at the time, "and I think there's going to be some trouble down the road if they don't get on the ball."






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