The Wall Street Journal had an item the other day on the Obama campaign rolling out a “new nationwide faith effort” that will, among other things, make it clear that the Democratic candidate is a Christian.
The initiative represents a direct challenge to Republicans, who successfully wooed conservative evangelical votes that in turn fueled President Bush’s re-election in 2004. Liberal evangelicals — such as some members of mainline Protestant churches — have been vocal during this election season, reminding voters that some evangelicals favor abortion rights and gay marriage and oppose the Iraq war, and also vote Democratic.
“The Obama campaign is preparing a robust effort to reach out to people of all faiths, all religious backgrounds and moral beliefs and to bring new faith supporters in,” said Joshua Dubois, the Obama campaign’s director of religious affairs. “We’re trying to connect Americans to one to another. …What we’re conveying is his Christian faith and his core values.”
It’s apparently quite an aggressive initiative on the campaign’s part. The Journal noted that Obama’s team has distributed copies of a letter by the senator, “intended to be read during church services, highlighting the senator’s Christian beliefs.” A letter distributed in Ohio said, “[I]f there is one thing I’ve learned from my time as a community organizer…it’s that ordinary people, with the grace of an awesome God, can do extraordinary things.”
This came up a bit in January, when the Obama campaign produced a direct mail piece, featuring pictures of Obama praying and speaking from a pulpit. It featured a large graphic that reads, “Committed Christian,” touts the “power of prayer,” and includes an account of the moment that “Obama felt a beckoning of the spirit and accepted Jesus Christ into his life.” Similar pieces hit mailboxes in Kentucky last week.
This seem a bit excessive, but given the coordinated smear campaign against the Democrat, and public confusion over his faith, Obama probably doesn't have much of a choice.