Southern Baptists lukewarm on Bush address
U.S. President George W. Bush got polite applause Tuesday for his brief, pre-taped video address to the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest evangelical denomination, which is holding its annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana.
This may have been because his remarks this year were pre-taped as opposed to being broadcast from the White House live, as they have been in previous years.
Still, the lukewarm response may also reflect a cooling of conservative evangelicals toward the Republican Party.
White evangelical Protestants did more than any other group to put Bush into the White House and there is a feeling among some that he did not pursue their anti-abortion and gay rights agenda with the vigor they had hoped for.
They are also cool towards presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain. Several interviewed by Reuters saw him as the lesser of two liberals in the November White House matchup with his Democratic rival Barack Obama.
Bush spoke the language of American evangelicals in his speech, praising them for defending “the sanctity of life” — which is code in such circles for opposing abortion rights.
If remarks like that don’t get this crowd riled up then McCain really has his work cut out for him.
Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Bush in Slovenia June 10)