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McCain and the Religious Right24:01


It’s a big tent, the Republican Party likes to say. But for years now the religious right has worked hard to put a pulpit in the middle, and has often been the face of Republicanism.

Enter John McCain, who never could sit still during those sermons. He famously called Christian right leaders Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson "agents of intolerance." And until even last week, the religious right was notably, markedly, cool to McCain’s campaign.

Now Sarah Palin, Alaska governor and conservative values campaigner, has changed that in an instant. The Christian right is fired up for her.

What can we learn from this story? And what does it mean for the November election and a potential McCain-Palin administration?

This hour, On Point: Live from St. Paul, we’ll look at the religious right, the GOP, the McCain campaign, and the homestretch to November.

You can join the conversation. Evangelicals, are you fired up now for McCain plus Palin? What does it mean for the country, if the religious right is on or off the ticket? How will faith and values play in the McCain-Obama contest? Tell us what you think.


Karen Tumulty, national political reporter for Time magazine, where she contributes to's Swampland blog.

Steven Waldman, co-founder and editor in chief of, where he writes a blog, and author of "The Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America."

Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the country.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and co-author of “Personal Faith, Public Policy" (2008).

Kevin Hiebert, co-pastor at The Church in Vancouver, and a member of Restoring Eden, a Christian environmental organization. He and his wife have a business called Urban Farm School, which helps people set up sustainable farming in cities, suburban settings, and urban backyards.

More links:

Listen back to On Point's show yesterday morning, "The Soul of the GOP," with guests Phyllis Schlafly, Republican pollster Whit Ayres, conservative journalist Ross Douthat, and On Point news analyst Jack Beatty.

In today's New York Times, David Kirkpatrick reports that McCain's efforts to woo religious conservatives are paying off.

At, Jim Vandehei and David Paul Kuhn write that McCain's choice of Palin has reignited the culture wars.

This program aired on September 3, 2008.

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