December 25, 2003


Seeking a new emphasis, Dean touts his Christianity: Southern campaign plans to increase religious references (Sarah Schweitzer, 12/25/2003, Boston Globe)

Presidential contender Howard B. Dean, who has said little about religion while campaigning except to emphasize the separation of church and state, described himself in an interview with the Globe as a committed believer in Jesus Christ and said he expects to increasingly include references to Jesus and God in his speeches as he stumps in the South.

Dean, 55, who practices Congregationalism but does not often attend church and whose wife and children are Jewish, explained the move as a desire to share his beliefs with audiences willing to listen. His comments came as a rival, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, chastised other Democrats for forgetting ''that faith was central to our founding and remains central to our national purpose.''

The move is striking for a man who has steadfastly kept his personal life out of the campaign, rarely offering biographical information, much less his religious beliefs. But in the Globe interview, Dean said that Jesus was an important influence in his life and that he would probably share with some voters the model Jesus has served for him.

''Christ was someone who sought out people who were disenfranchised, people who were left behind,'' Dean said. ''He fought against self-righteousness of people who had everything . . . He was a person who set an extraordinary example that has lasted 2000 years, which is pretty inspiring when you think about it.''

Far be it from us to judge someone else's personal faith, but, suffice it to say, describing Christ as a kind of social worker seems merely odd, while referring to the Son of God as your role model is more than a bit hubristic. If this is how he plans to go about connecting with the religious, he doesn't seem likely to fare too well.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 25, 2003 10:19 AM

This from someone who left a previous church because it wouldn't approve a bikepath.

Posted by: jd watson at December 25, 2003 12:09 PM

Considering a sizeable number of Dean's supporters are among those trying to bust up manger displays on publically-owned land and bar any Christmas symbols, songs or words from public schools, statements like this are probably counterproductive to his core voters.

Posted by: John at December 25, 2003 12:16 PM

Interesting how the McGovernor's "commitment" to Jesus is so geographically centered. I mean, the last thing they need in the South is another campaign about God, right?

Posted by: AC at December 25, 2003 12:57 PM

"I want the vote of all those Southerners with fish on their pickup trucks."

Posted by: David Cohen at December 25, 2003 4:05 PM

Will Dean start carrying a Bible to his rallies?

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 25, 2003 9:45 PM

In Dean's mind, if Jesus is for the bike path then Dean can support him.

Posted by: pchuck at December 26, 2003 1:40 PM