Who Are the Religious Right "Kingmakers" in the GOP?
Religion News Service
has published a list
of ten "religious conservatives" described as "kingmakers" in the GOP. The article is interesting for at least two reasons: One is that it underscores the ongoing importance of the religious right in the Republican Party; and the other is that their list is at least as interesting for who is left out, as who is included. RNS
can say that they merely "spotlighted" ten influential leaders without saying that these are necessarily the most
influential, but there is also an implicit heirarchy when choices are made in this way. For example, ten influential religious right leaders who are not
on the list are Pat Robertson, John Hagee, Sun Myung Moon, Lou Sheldon, Beverly LaHaye, Roy Moore
, Frank Pavone, D. James Kennedy, Rick Scarborough
, and Jerry Falwell.
Check out the RNS list, and their reasoning, on the flip:
Broadcaster and psychologist James Dobson, whose Focus on the Family radio show attracts some 220 million listeners who tune in for his views on the merits - and failings - of various candidates.
· Michael Farris, founder and chairman of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, who one observer said had "a network of home-schoolers that will do anything for him."
· Richard Land, the go-to political guru for the nation's 16 million Southern Baptists, who has been outspoken in declaring what is acceptable (Mormonism) and what is not (infidelity).
· Pam Olsen, president of the Florida Prayer Network, and a mother of four who set up a network of pastors and organizers in each of the state's 67 counties.
· Rod Parsley, pastor of the 14,000-member World Harvest Church in the battleground state of Ohio, who can use his network of pastors to help a candidate fine-tune his message to reach conservatives.
· Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, the most powerful Christian lobbying group in Washington whose e-mail alerts reach 200,000 people each day.
· Steve Scheffler, head of the 4,000-member Iowa Christian Alliance, the most active - and credible - religious group in the Hawkeye State.
· Tamara Scott, Iowa leader of Concerned Women for America, who has talked with nearly every GOP candidate and is willing to back a candidate who's "truly conservative," even if he's a longshot.
· Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice and national radio host, whose blessing on Mitt Romney's campaign was a huge stamp of approval for the Mormon candidate.
· Don Wildmon, chairman of the influential Arlington Group and head of the American Family Association, pontificates about politics and society on the 185 radio stations that his group owns across 36 states.