By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
After President Obama's executive stem cell order on Monday, Politico ran a story about Obama losing support from religious conservative groups. Here's the intro:
He called for reducing abortions and seeking common ground on one of the nation's most divisive issues—promises that led some on the right to think maybe, just maybe, Barack Obama was a different kind of Democrat.
But no more.
A series of decisions in the past two months—capped by an announcement Monday that he's abolishing Bush-era limits on embryonic stem cell research—has led to a reassessment of Obama by some Christian conservative and other religious leaders, who now charge him with inflaming the very cultural divisions he once pledged to heal.
Only one problem with the piece: Five of the six people quoted in the story as proof that religious conservatives are "reassessing" Obama have always opposed him. Their low opinion of the president is a continuation of the status quo. Here they are:
- Brian Burch, president of Fidelis and CatholicVote.org. During the 2008 campaign, Fidelis Political Action's press releases carried headlines like "McCain Victory Needed to Protect Marriage" and "Palin a Natural Choice for Catholics." Not exactly bullish on Obama.
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Never an Obama supporter, obviously.
- House Minority Leader John A. Boehner. Ditto.
- National Right to Life Committee's Douglas Johnson. On the eve of Election Day 2008, Johnson described Obama as "firmly committed to an agenda of sweeping pro-abortion policy changes that, if implemented, could be expected to drastically increase the numbers of abortions performed." Does he sound receptive toward what Obama calls his abortion reduction agenda?
- Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. Last October, Perkins decried candidate Obama's "radical abortion views." Not too keen on Obama.
Only one figure cited in the story—the Rev. Joel Hunter, a Florida evangelical megapastor—has been supportive of Obama in the past. His harsh words for the president really do indicate a reassessment. The White House should be concerned. But so far, he's a chorus of one.