Has the faith factor fizzled in the U.S. campaign?

October 3, 2008

Joe Biden and Sarah Palin after vice presidential debate, 3 Oct 2008/Carlos BarriaAfter the 2004 election, the buzz was that religion was a key factor in U.S. election campaigns. It’s come up this year with Barack Obama’s “pastor problem,” speculation about Sarah Palin’s Pentecostal church and several other points. So I thought it was worth getting up in the middle of the night (cable TV had it from 3 a.m. here in Paris) to see what if any role religion played in her debate with Joe Biden.

From that narrow point of view, I could have stayed in bed.

The only interesting point on any of the usually divisive “culture war” issues was the way Palin agreed with Biden that gay and lesbian couples should not be denied legal benefits granted to married heterosexual couples. “No one would ever propose, not in a McCain-Palin administration, to do anything to prohibit, say, visitations in a hospital or contracts being signed, negotiated between parties,” she said. Neither supported gay marriage, but that was their stated position already.

With the financial crisis dominating the news these days, there was little chance that these issues would take up much time in the debate. But the fact that Palin didn’t use the wedge issue when it arose was interesting. According to a new study by Beliefnet “moral issues are dramatically less important this year than in previous years – even among the most religiously observant voters.”

So has the faith factor fizzled out in this campaign? Can I get a full night’s sleep when Obama and McCain debate?


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Posted by Palin , Biden Spar on Iraq, Economic Crisis in Debate | Report as abusive

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Posted by Palin Preparedness. | Report as abusive

Joe Biden’s 14 Lies IN VP DEBATE

1. TAX VOTE: Biden said McCain voted “the exact same way” as Obama to increase taxes on Americans earning just

$42,000, but McCain DID NOT VOTE THAT WAY.

2. AHMEDINIJAD MEETING: Joe Biden lied when he said that Barack Obama never said that he would sit down

unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmedinijad of Iran. Barack Obama did say specifically, and Joe Biden attacked him for


3. OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING: Biden said, “Drill we must.” But Biden has opposed offshore drilling and even

compared offshore drilling to “raping” the Outer Continental Shelf.”

4. TROOP FUNDING: Joe Biden lied when he indicated that John McCain and Barack Obama voted the same way

against funding the troops in the field. John McCain opposed a bill that included a timeline, that the President of the

United States had already said he would veto regardless of it’s passage.

5. OPPOSING CLEAN COAL: Biden says he’s always been for clean coal, but he just told a voter that he is against

clean coal and any new coal plants in America and has a record of voting against clean coal and coal in the U.S.


6. ALERNATIVE ENERGY VOTES: According to FactCheck.org, Biden is exaggerating and overstating John

McCain’s record voting for alternative energy when he says he voted against it 23 times.

7. HEALTH INSURANCE: Biden falsely said McCain will raise taxes on people’s health insurance coverage — they get

a tax credit to offset any tax hike. Independent fact checkers have confirmed this attack is false

8. OIL TAXES: Biden falsely said Palin supported a windfall profits tax in Alaska — she reformed the state tax and

revenue system, it’s not a windfall profits tax.

9. AFGHANISTAN / GEN. MCKIERNAN COMMENTS: Biden said that top military commander in Iraq said the

principles of the surge could not be applied to Afghanistan, but the commander of NATO’s International Security

Assistance Force Gen. David D. McKiernan said that there were principles of the surge strategy, including working with

tribes, that could be applied in Afghanistan.

10. REGULATION: Biden falsely said McCain weakened regulation — he actually called for more regulation on Fannie

and Freddie.

11. IRAQ: When Joe Biden lied when he said that John McCain was “dead wrong on Iraq”, because Joe Biden shared

the same vote to authorize the war and differed on the surge strategy where they John McCain has been proven right.

12. TAX INCREASES: Biden said Americans earning less than $250,000 wouldn’t see higher taxes, but the

Obama-Biden tax plan would raise taxes on individuals making $200,000 or more.

13. BAILOUT: Biden said the economic rescue legislation matches the four principles that Obama laid out, but in

reality it doesn’t meet two of the four principles that Obama outlined on Sept. 19, which were that it include an

emergency economic stimulus package, and that it be part of “part of a globally coordinated effort with our partners in

the G-20.”

14. REAGAN TAX RATES: Biden is wrong in saying that under Obama, Americans won’t pay any more in taxes then

they did under Reagan.

http://www.johnmccain.com/McCainReport/R ead.aspx?guid=343ba934-6417-4b65-ac9e-92 348acb5e97&rating=5

Posted by WillNotBeFooledByObamaNATION | Report as abusive

Democrats and lying goes hand in hand.
What did you expect? Honesty from an attorney? HA!

Posted by Julie | Report as abusive

So has the faith factor fizzled out in this campaign?

Um nope. Not for the electorate.

Why else would the church of Obama be even promoting Obama as pro life? (the blindness and mendacity of both the theological and political left is astounding.)

Posted by saint | Report as abusive

I don’t know how anyone can say that Biden and Palin agreed on the treatment of gay couples. Biden made it clear that he felt that gay couples should have all of the same rights and privledges of heterosexual couples, but stopped short of calling it marriage, calling it a constitutional right. Palin stopped way short. She would be “tolerant” of gay people and would concede that they wouldn’t do anything to prevent hospital visits or contracts between gay couples. That’s about all she said. Neither she nor McCain would ever say anything like what Biden said about any other rights. She made that clear.

Posted by JimD | Report as abusive

They didn’t want to touch the “faith” angle because it could hurt both sides. 1/2 the country doesn’t want an evangelical in office who thinks the world is going to end in 50 years next to the Nuclear button. The other half do.

Palin lost points when she tried to spin the gay marriage as being different than Biden. They share the same position.

Palin also lost points when she asked to bring up Afghanistan and then was discredited when she her platforms proposed tactics were already declared failed by forces on the ground.

Biden did okay, although some of his facts were definitely off. He did seem more prepared, while Palin was came across more “homey and sweet”. Do we want “homey and sweet” as a possible President if McCain becomes incapacitated?

Personally, I am not voting for Obama nor McCain (I was a McCain supporter until Palin and the bailout). I am voting Libertarian.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

Regarding the question of this article:

Let’s hope so. The framers of the constitution were rightly worried about crazy religious conservatives of their time and ours and probably figured correctly that they would never give up. Wisely, they wrote their intent down:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amend ment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

I wish Obama hadn’t attempted to reach out to religious conservatives, but at least he’s not Palin, thanking God for pipelines and all.

The “Faith Factor” is really nothing about faith and mostly about what level of discrimination is currently acceptable by the mainstream. It doesn’t belong in any campaign for public office. If indeed the influence of faith is fizzling… GREAT! It can’t fizzle soon enough.

My family goes to church nearly every Sunday and I’m glad that politics has no influence on our church and our church has no influence on politics. They’re best kept apart.

Posted by DaveSEMass | Report as abusive

A shame that the dems feel threatned so bad that they are fixing the election by buying votes, no less from college students, mentally challenged individuals, poor and homeless. The dems started this mess when slick willey was in office offering everyone home mortages.

Posted by JohnKing | Report as abusive

This mess started with slick willey administration, now the people will bail out the incompent dems in charge of finances. The dems for the past 2 yrs have sat on their butts let this mess happen while being warned. It is time that all crums are removed from office on both sides of the fence. Lets start by getting rid of Bernie and Petrie who have just plain screwed the taxpayer.

Posted by JohnKing | Report as abusive

I hope it HAS fizzled!

Religion and politics DO NO MIX!

If only we could all see that this is right conclusion to make. :-(

Posted by The Truth Is… | Report as abusive

If you care about the Constitution as much as I do, forget sleeping all that much until the 111th Congress convenes, and until Mr. Obama is sworn in as president as well. We’ve seen several end runs around the U.S. Constitution during the past 8 years by politicians who are manipulated by the far right. These politicians are primarily found in the House of Representatives.

Senator McCain panders to the far right. It is his base. What he really believes, only he knows, of course. As far as I’m concerned, his religious beliefs are his own. What concerns me is his politics.

No American should ever underestimate political attempts to undermine the First Amendment’s required separation of religion & government (and politics) by pleading that the First Amendment’s freedoms of speech & religion have been undermined. The Framers of the Bill of Rights weren’t being vague about said separation…although the far right would have you believe that they were being fuzzy on such a critical subject.

As far as I’m concerned, the far right’s infiltration of both religion and government directly contributed to the reelection of Mr. Bush (and his election, if you believe that he won in Florida). It seems to me that Mr. Bush blindly follows his religious faith, without tempering (with common sense) where his faith leads him. In that regard, he is just what the far right was looking for in a commander in chief who could help their tiny minority of the voting electorate wield the military power of the United States, e.g., in Iraq…and in Iran if they get the chance. At the root of such military intervention is the desire for power, not the desire to protect the homeland. Check the writings of Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. Mr. Wolfowitz was Mr. Rumsfeld’s deputy during the invasion of Iraq.

What you’ll read in a moment, Mr. & Mrs. Reader, is a prime example of what politicians (who have been infiltrated or swayed by the far-right) were up to as late as May 10, 2007. Since 1954, tax-exempt religious and nonreligious organizations have been legally banned from any action on their part to “participate in, or intervene in…any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.” Although the chances for passage of HR2275 are presently poor, said bill could (and probably will) be reintroduced in the House sometime in 2009 with the convening of the 111th Congress.

OK Jack

“HR 2275 IH
1st Session

H. R. 2275
To restore the Free Speech and First Amendment rights of churches and exempt organizations by repealing the 1954 Johnson Amendment.


May 10, 2007
Mr. JONES of North Carolina introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means

To restore the Free Speech and First Amendment rights of churches and exempt organizations by repealing the 1954 Johnson Amendment.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


Posted by Jack | Report as abusive

to the person that finds is strange that Palin would thank God for a pipleine, but who says he and his family attend church nearly each week–do you read the Bible at that church? and do you think its teachings are something to be practiced?–it says to thank God for all things– why shouldht she thank God for it?–or do you think God is just a concept, not an actual mover in the events of this world?

Posted by PD | Report as abusive

Please tell John Becker, who was bitten by Barney Bush, that when reaching out to a dog, your hand should be BELOW the dog’s head, otherwise the hand over the head is seen as a threat . Also, with a small dog such as Barney, one should crouch down so that you’re not a “towering” threat. Even with a big dog, it’s best to get down to their level as much as possible. Hope the wound heals!

Posted by Karol Ames | Report as abusive

Please tell John Becker, who was bitten by Barney Bush, that when reaching out to any dog, large or small, it is wise to crouch lower, and make sure your hand is UNDER the level of the dog’s head. A hand coming down from above is seen as a threat. That could be why Barney bit! Hope the wound heals

Posted by Karol Ames | Report as abusive