Faith-based Obama

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Obama praying.jpgGetReligion’s Mollie reviews the coverage of the “Barack Obama Christian candidate” advertising in Kentucky. Of particular interest is Joseph Gerth’s article in yesterday Louisville CourierJournal, which notes how Obama is being identified as a Christian in a couple of radio spots airing in the state as well as via the very churchly brochure. As I noted a few posts ago, this is not a new thing under Obama’s sun. Is it appropriate? By longstanding campaign rule of thumb, once a subject is on the table, you’ve got greater latitude (as a journalist, as a candidate) to bring it up. Think marijuana use, which has been on the table since the 1988 campaign cycle (does anyone remember Judge Ginsburg?). Obama’s religion is, for better or worse, very much on the table. The question is: Does the upside of quelling the persistent rumors of his Muslim identity outweigh the downside of reminding everyone of Jeremiah Wright?
Whatever such a campaign might do to neutralize antagonism to (or even generate support for) Obama among white churchgoers, the real oomph for him in organized religion is going to come from the black churches, come the general election. The bump-up in African-American turnout thus far gets the attention it deserves from Adam Nossiter and Janny Scott in today’s New York Times. We ain’t seen nothing yet.