By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
My USNews.com colleague Dan Gilgoff has revealed that President Obama has produced a presidential first: his public rallies and events will start with invocations that have been commissioned and vetted by the White House:
Though invocations have long been commonplace at presidential inaugurations and certain events like graduations or religious services at which presidents are guests, the practice of commissioning and vetting prayers for presidential rallies is unprecedented in modern history, according to religion and politics experts.
This is a dangerous, unnecessary and (in typical Obama style) pandering move that will do more harm than good.
I'm unclear on the motive here, but most likely it was to try to draw religious conservatives into the Democratic party. It's not going to work, as is any of Mr. Obama's bi-partisan rhetoric. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Republican support for the President is about half what it was just recently:
Only 37 percent of Republicans approve of how Obama has handled the presidency. By contrast, 90 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of independents approve of Obama's job performance.
You can't please all the people all the time. Republicans are right to argue that if they tried injecting as much church into state as Mr. Obama's prayerful introductions are going to have, they'd be ripped to shreds by public outrage. As well they should be! And so should the Obama Administration. Didn't we get enough government religiosity under the Bush Administration? And didn't we suffer enough as a result?
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