Mulling the presidential candidates at Oklahoma Church

May 22, 2007

Its still almost a year and a half to the next U.S. presidential election in November 2008, but the campaigning has already been going on for months.

The field of Republicans and Democrats seeking their partys nomination is broad, but Christian conservatives at the First Baptist Church in Moore, Oklahoma, say so far few of the potential nominees have impressed them.

This is a heavily Republican state, so the names mentioned most as potential candidates among the congregation here were Repulicans.

According to members of the congregation, the problem is that few of these candidates espouse the same kind of unerring faith in God and adherence to the Christian values they say a potential nominee should have if he wants their vote.

Christian conservatives are a vital constituency for the Republican party and if they decide not to vote in the presidential elections next year, this could affect the outcome.

From the interviews undertaken at the First Baptist Church, it seems that those seeking the Republican nomination have their work cut out in courting this core group.

Below are excerpts from some of the interviews with congregation members and staff at the First Baptist Church, on what issues are important to deciding on whom to vote for and which candidates have so far caught their attention:

Manuel Rodriguez, 30 congregation member – We are against abortion, we are against all this stuff. We are going to vote, we are going to stay sitting down, watching.

Lucinda Loafman, 48 Sunday School teacher and school teacher – What we hear on the news and in the media is so biased, so we have to just, you know, pray and be discerning about what we see in a persons character because we cannot go by what the media is telling us this person is, or what he thinks or what he says.

Bill Hamilton Sunday School teacher – There are some that I like and I would say that I dont like one in particular… Giuliani, I like. I liked his strength after 9/11. Im not real fond of his stand on abortion. But, you know.

We asked who he didn’t particularly like and he said: “Oh, well, Im not much on Hillary Clinton.

Harve Allen, 49 congregation member – I just wish George W. (Bush) would run again (laughter). I wish there were no term limits, you know. At least wed have someone in there that we know, whos a God-fearing man who relies on his faith a lot of the time. But we dont know these people. There is a Mormon in the group (Mitt Romney), but to Christianity Mormonism is a cult and that wont fly with your Christian religions.

Greg Lee congregation member – One I would just love it if the president were a Godly-based person and made Godly decisions instead of emotional ones or whatever. I would truly, you know, love to have that and that would be a big part of a person I would back.

Rhonda Allen congregation member – Well, you know, abortion is always a big issue for the Christian population and I can see some people who stand up and say theyre a Christian but then they vote for abortion and I always think, hmmm, thats interesting.”

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