Some prominent evangelical Christians say they have not been invited to participate in or attend the Republican National Convention less than three weeks before the event is to begin
Analysts said the move likely reflects a GOP desire to sideline its more polarizing supporters during a tight presidential race, but convention organizers deny they're marginalizing the religious leaders. Republican strategist Ralph Reed said Wednesday that invitations just started going out to evangelical figures, but he would not release any names.
The Rev. Franklin Graham, who delivered the invocation at President Bush's inauguration, has had no request to attend so far, said Graham spokesman Mark DeMoss.
The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who offered a prayer at the 2000 convention, said he has not yet been asked to do so this year. He plans to go "quietly in and quietly out" of the New York event, although he insists no one in the Republican campaigns asked him to keep a low profile.
The Rev. Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition and a one-time Republican presidential candidate, said, "I've had no request from anybody to be there." Unlike Falwell, Robertson believes the GOP is deliberately keeping him and other evangelicals away.