Republican Evangelical Christians Embrace Kerry Presidency

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Republican Evangelical Christians who have witnessed the decline of the public education system, the environment and the economy turn to John Kerry realizing that George Bush is using his faith as a wedge.

Members of the ‘Christian Right’ resist the Bush campaign to politicize their faith and turn to vote for Kerry. Recently the Bush campaign called on evangelical churches to turn their members into political activists – church members like Dan and Julie Rakowski. Both Dan and Julie have been members of a nationwide grassroots organization “Republicans for Kerry ‘04” since this spring. “In many ways, I am typical of the ‘Christian Right’ you often hear about,” Dan said. “I’m passionately pro-life, moderately against gay-marriage, and pro-Second Amendment.” During the past four years, Dan and his family have witnessed the decline of the public education system, the environment and the economy. Dan regards the Bush campaign’s attempt to draft congregations into political service during this campaign season as an attempt to use the faith of theologically conservative Christians as a wedge. “If he keeps talking about social issues like homosexuality and abortion,” Rakowski observed, “Bush hopes we will look the other way with respect to his missteps of Iraq War, economy and education.”

“The measure by which a Christian should judge a candidate is to see if the walk matches the talk,” suggested Carmen Smith, a Cuban immigrant, lifelong Republican, and Christian for 40 years, who lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Environment is a key issue for her decision to support John Kerry. “As a Christian Republican I value being a good steward of God’s earth, which means taking care of the precious and fragile resources such as air, water and soil. Our President needs to be responsible enough to make this a top priority.” Citing Bush’s “misuse of his authority in this area, over the last four years,” Smith concluded, “I have more trust in John Kerry to do this job right.”

John Bugay, a writer who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a registered Republican and a conservative Presbyterian. He has been a strong John Kerry supporter since early this year, creating the first “Republicans for Kerry” website. In the GOP call on church congregations to become part of the Bush campaign, Bugay writes, “ … Bush is not appealing to our better natures, but to our worst fears. We ought not to give in to that type of fear. Many conservative Christians can already say ‘Bush has governed badly and doesn’t deserve another chance.’ At the very least, then John Kerry deserves an honest look by honest Christians.”

Brenda Farrell from Southlake Texas agrees. Calling herself “an old-time Republican”, Farrell worked in a Republican administration during the Reagan years. A Christian and an advocate of the separation of Church and State, she asks that her fellow Republicans and Christians, “not be lured by tangential emotionally-charged issues [such as gay marriage, abortion, etc.] that will remain unresolved for a long time. They are brought up to rile up conservative voters who this administration thinks are too blind to identify the real issues that face this country.”

[For a copy of John Bugay’s “The Christian Right Need Not Fear a Kerry Presidency” and other articles on this topic, contact media@republicansforkerry04.org]

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Bruce Mackinlay