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Pawlenty is the wrong kind of christian evangelical

by The Big E on July 14, 2011

It’s clear that former MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty isn’t gaining any traction.  We’ve been telling you about his poor polling numbers here at MN Progressive Project.  But aside from his haphazard to nearly schizo campaign strategy and complete lack of charisma, his other problem is he’s the wrong kind of christian extremist.

The evangelical minister who inspired him to convert from Catholicism has long been derided by the extreme right wing evangelicals as siding with the liberals on too many issues:

[Rev. Leith] Anderson, meanwhile, bucked the trend, sticking to nonpartisan preaching. He boasts that in three decades of leading church services, he never once delivered a political sermon.

That’s not to say he ignores the subject altogether. In his capacity as president of the nonpartisan NAE, Anderson is frequently blasted by his conservative co-religionists for taking left-of-center stances. He has spoken out against Arizona’s immigration crackdown, championed pro-environment “creation care,” and signed an appeal to lawmakers to protect government welfare programs from budget cuts.  (The last move-which came last April in the midst of the blistering national debate over the federal deficit-led conservative evangelical minister Eric Barger to proclaim on his blog, “Leith Anderson fiddles with Marxists as the church burns.”)

Perhaps most troubling to the religious right, Anderson led the NAE to issue a press release in 2010 titled, “Evangelicals Concur with Obama on Multiple Issues.” Anderson’s conciliatory approach to politics earned him a spot on the White House’s interfaith advisory council, but it has also angered Christian culture warriors who believe that one of their most prominent spokesmen is allowing his attention to drift from the more important social issues.

This helps explain why Pawlenty is making zero headway in Iowa and Michele Bachmann leads the latest poll, doesn’t it?

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