Via Jeralyn at Talk Left: The Barack Obama campaign announces an aggressive faith-based strategy. David Brody at Christian Broadcasting Network reports the presumptive Democratic nominee plans to woo young evangelicals and Catholics via the Joshua Generation Project.
The name is based on the biblical story of how Joshua's generation led the Israelites into the Promised Land. A source close to the Obama campaign tells The Brody File the following:
"The Joshua Generation project will be the Obama campaign's outreach to young people of faith. There's unprecedented energy and excitement for Obama among young evangelicals and Catholics. The Joshua Generation project will tap into that excitement and provide young people of faith opportunities to stand up for their values and move the campaign forward."
Obama has often referred to himself as part of the "Joshua generation" of blacks who grew up in the post-civil rights era.
There are obvious benefits and liabilities to an faith-based strategy. On the upside, any project that yields additional voters is a plus. Obama has underperformed with Catholic voter and this helps gain traction in that demographic. If a pro-choice, pro-gay rights campaign is able to frame its message to young Catholics or evangelicals—see the November 2007 Obama interview on CBN and his remarks at a Texas rally—more power to him. Assuming the message is not modified. Also, as Rod 2.0 has previously reported, some evangelicals are moving away from single issue platforms and toward issues there are such as HIV/AIDS, poverty, Darfur, global warming and the Iraq War. These are issues where Democrats have the advantage.
On the other hand, the Obama campaign is already characterized by significant religious messaging and speechifying—too much, some say. The problems with Revs. Jeremiah Wright and James Meeks, as well as Father Michael Pfleger, drove significant numbers of white, church-going voters from Obama and toward Clinton. Obama's pastor problems will remain an issue, even more so in the general election, and, the primary exit polls in states such as Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky indicated many of those church-going voters probably will not be voting Democratic in the fall.
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