Evangelical Christians for Obama

A new pro-Obama ads to come from an organization outside of the campaign reads on a white and blue flyer:

For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger, and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothes me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.
-Matthew 25:30-40

Then, next to a photo of Barack Obama, in large, bold letters, the flyer reads: “IMAGINE A PRESIDENT WHO STANDS FOR THIS.”

The newest 527 group to back Obama for president does not look or sound much like the kind of group you’d expect to come out with a campaign in support Obama a week before the election.

The group, Matthew 25 Network, is an evangelical Christian group that is airing radio ads for Obama that focus on the candidate’s commitment to family and Christian values.
And who better than to transmit the message of the group than the guy who knows what it’s like to be a good Christian and a good president (on television)? Yup, Martin Sheen [www.youtube.com] is the new face of the evangelicals for Obama.

The group’s hope is to help sway white, evangelical Christian votes away from John McCain and toward Obama. A CBS/New York Times poll [cbs5.com] conducted last week showed that McCain was leading among white evangelicals 69 percent to 21 percent who say they would vote for Obama. Although the numbers are strong, 42 percent of those who support McCain say they “have reservations” about him. In 2004, George W. Bush received 78 percent of the white evangelical vote.

Because many of these evangelicals are unenthusiastic about McCain, there is some opportunity in these final days for Obama to swing some of them his way, and the Mathew 25 Network is at the helm of this effort. The ads will air on Christian music stations in battleground states. The group has also posted video ads [www.youtube.com] on their website, (a site that will look awfully familiar for anyone who has seen Obama’s site).

The ads all target evangelicals who in recent years have formed the base of the Republican electorate, and who are largely responsible for Bush’s rise to power. One of the spots, “Pro-Life, Pro-Obama,” tries to persuade Christina pro-lifers to vote for Obama by emphasizing his support for prenatal care and adoptions, despite his stance on abortion.

While the ads are unlikely to appeal to everyone, their mere conception is a clear demonstration of shifting plates within the Republican party, and even within the evangelical bloc, a group that has long been considered off-limits to Democrats, especially non-white, pro-abortion Democrats such as Obama.

–Jamie Wong