January 18, 2005

GET THE SHEPHERDS AND THE FLOCKS WILL FOLLOW:

Bush Rewarded by Black Pastors' Faith: His stands, backed by funding of ministries, redefined the GOP's image with some clergy. (Peter Wallsten, Tom Hamburger and Nicholas Riccardi, January 18, 2005, LA Times)

Bishop Sedgwick Daniels, one of this city's most prominent black pastors, supported Democrats in past presidential elections, backing Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

This fall, however, the bishop's broad face appeared on Republican Party fliers in the battleground state of Wisconsin, endorsing President Bush as the candidate who "shares our views."

What changed?

After Bush's contested 2000 victory, Daniels felt the pull of a most powerful worldly force: a call from the White House. He conferred with top administration officials and had a visit in 2002 from the president himself. His church later received $1.5 million in federal funds through Bush's initiative to support faith-based social services.

Daniels' political conversion, and similar transformations by black pastors across the nation, form a little-known chapter in the playbook of Bush's 2004 reelection campaign — and may mark the beginning of a political realignment long sought by senior White House advisor Karl Rove and other GOP strategists.

Daniels says it was not the federal money that led him to endorse the Republican candidate last year, but rather the values of Bush and other party leaders who champion church ministries, religious education and moral clarity. It was evidence to many religious African Americans that the GOP could be an appealing home.

That's exactly the way many conservative Republican and evangelical leaders hope the faith-based program will work.

"The political benefits are unbelievable," says the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the conservative Traditional Values Coalition, which helped shape the administration's faith-based strategy and the GOP's outreach to black Christian voters.


W believed.


MORE:
Groups gather to fight Bush's faith initiatives (Julia Duin, 1/15/05, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

Forty to 60 humanists, atheists, nontheists, secular Jews and ethical culturalists began an emergency summit yesterday at a Dupont Circle hotel to discuss strategy over how to fight President Bush's faith-based initiatives planned for his second term.

"The situation is now as bad as we'll ever see it," said Roy Speckhardt, deputy director of the American Humanist Association (AHA), a conglomeration of 80 grass-roots activist groups that promote humanism, a philosophy of living without supernatural influences.


You wish.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 18, 2005 9:46 AM
Comments

What in the hell is an "ethical culturalist"?

Posted by: BJW at January 18, 2005 2:37 PM
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