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September 20, 2006

Bringing the Church into Politics

Democratic candidate Harold Ford, Jr. has employed an unusual tactic in his latest senatorial campaign ad: he filmed the commercial in a church sanctuary:

With a stained-glass window behind him, candidate Harold Ford Jr. strolls through the Memphis church where he was baptized to tell voters this is the place where he learned right from wrong.

Using a church sanctuary as the backdrop in his newest campaign commercial, the Democrat running for the U.S. Senate has picked an unusual setting. One expert on religion and politics said it was the first political ad he'd heard of actually filmed inside a sanctuary.

The pastor of the church didn't seem to have a problem with allowing his sanctuary to become the backdrop for a political ad:

"I think people would like to learn about a person's values, and if it was through a church setting, they'd like to know that," said its pastor, Melvin Charles Smith, who says Ford attends services whenever he is town. The name of the church does not appear in the commercial.

The commercial in question is available (at least as of this writing) on the Ford campaign's website.

Whether someone is a Christian should not only be evident by their words but their actions. In fact, their actions should speak louder than their words.

Candidates should know, too, that simply talking about faith is not going to be enough to persuade religious voters to support them. The question is whether the positions the candidates take on issues will be consistent with these "values voters" that made a difference in the last election. Given the current Democratic party planks on abortion, gay rights, and other "values" issues it's hard to see how they are going to be able to appeal to many religious voters no matter how far they go in trying to appeal to them.

Posted by Tom at September 20, 2006 01:50 PM

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According to the AP, the IRS has ordered All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, CA to turn over their financial records. The inquiry supposedly came about after a guest pastor preached a 2004 sermon entitled If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry [Read More]

Tracked on September 25, 2006 08:29 AM


If he were Republican, of course, this would be "proof" (to the Left) that the relgious Right were in bed with the party. Since he's a Democrat, this will be no big deal.

Frankly, to me, this is no big deal. I'm happy to understand where a candidate's beliefs were formed. However, if the candidate is called on those church beliefs vs. his/her actions, then retreating to "religion is a personal thing" should no longer be accepted by the public. If you make it public, it becomes public for both support and criticism. And, of course, it should be OK for both sides to do it without knee-jerk church/state reaction.

Posted by: Doug Payton at September 20, 2006 03:04 PM