The Role of Religion in the Midterm Election

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(Washington, D.C.) On this Sunday’s “State of Belief,” The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, Reverend Welton Gaddy recaps the mid-term elections and examines how religion influenced the results. Also, Welton speaks with the pastor featured in the film, “Jesus Camp” about her decision to close the camp.

Dr. John Green, senior fellow with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, joins Welton to review the winners and losers from Tuesday’s elections. Several candidates who trumpeted their religious faith in their campaigns went down in defeat, including Florida Senate candidate Rep. Katherine Harris (R), Tennessee Senate candidate Rep. Harold Ford (D) and Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline (R). Harris had said that separation of church and state is “a lie we have been told.” Said Green, “Katherine Harris managed to offend a lot of people, including those who ordinarily would agree with her.”

Welton also asked Green to asses the power of the Religious Right in light of the recent election. Green noted that many more evangelicals voted for Democratic candidates than in previous elections. “The level of support for the Republican Party [among evangelical Christians] may not extend beyond President Bush,” he said.

Journalist Michelle Goldberg speaks with Welton about what happened to the Religious Right in Ohio. Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell was a favorite of evangelical Christians, but he was defeated soundly by Democrat Ted Strickland. Goldberg said that evangelical Christians “did turn out in high numbers and voted heavily for Republicans, but there aren’t enough evangelicals to win an election by themselves.”

Finally, Welton welcomes the pastor in charge of the camp featured in the documentary “Jesus Camp.” Pastor Becky Fisher has decided to close the camp in response to the negative reaction the film has generated. Fisher says she “has no regrets” about allowing her camp to be the subject of the film, but, she said, “I don’t feel it told the whole story.” Fisher said that after the film came out she received nasty calls and emails and the camp site was vandalized.