In 2008, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was able to make crucial gains among religious moderates on his way to winning the presidential election. But as the 2012 election nears, the same group is growing skeptical of a repeat performance. Rachel Zoll, of the Associated Press, writes:
The DNC’s faith outreach director, the Rev. Derrick Harkins, said the party has strong relationships with religious groups. But as evidence of their concerns, critics point to the public debate that followed Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage, a decision the president said was based in part on his Christian faith.
No prominent clergyperson was sent out as a surrogate by the administration to explain the religious argument in favor of same-sex relationships. Instead, the main religious voices connected to Obama in the public sphere were the ministers who serve as his personal spiritual advisers and generally oppose gay marriage. Those ministers who were willing to comment—many weren’t—said they were struggling with Obama’s decision.
“I think there is a viable religious left who can be persuaded by a carefully articulated religious argument, but no one is making it,” said Valerie Cooper, a religious studies professor at the University of Virginia and Obama supporter. “I’m concerned that the administration has not followed through on the promise of 2008.”
Editor-at-Large of The Immanent Frame David Kyuman Kim offers his thoughts in the article:
David Kim, a Connecticut College religious studies professor, helped advise the 2008 campaign when videos of incendiary sermons by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s former Chicago pastor, threatened to derail the nominee. Kim, who attended the briefing with Cooper, described the administration’s faith-based work as “ad hoc” and “with no long-term strategy.”
“I didn’t really get a clear sense of what the mission is,” Kim said.
Read more here.