Anti-gay leaders rally behind Perry for president

Posted on 05 Jul 2011 at 10:01am

Time reports that a group of anti-gay bigots from the Christian Right held a conference call last month and agreed that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is their preferred GOP presidential candidate. Those on the conference call included Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which is considered an anti-gay hate group; San Antonio Pastor John Hagee, who famously linked homosexuality and Hurricane Katrina; and David Barton of WallBuilders, who believes the government should regulate gay sex. Perry of course, is hosting a Day of Prayer on Aug. 6 in Houston funded by the American Family Association, another anti-gay hate group, to the tune of $1.5 million. From Time:

What’s wrong with the existing crop of candidates? Tim Pawlenty has the support of evangelical leaders outside the Christian Right–in a recent survey of the board of directors of the National Association of Evangelicals, 45% named Pawlenty as their preferred GOP nominee. However, that impressive result may have something to do with the fact that the NAE president, Leith Anderson, is Pawlenty’s pastor and may not be representative of broader evangelical opinion. Mitt Romney ran into problems with evangelicals in 2008 because of his Mormon faith, and his recent refusal to sign an anti-abortion organization’s campaign pledge did nothing to win over his critics.

Meanwhile, no one questions the social conservative credentials of Rick Santorum or Michele Bachmann. But Santorum’s poll numbers in Iowa are smaller than the number of children he has. And while Bachmann has been on a hot streak since the first candidate’s debate, Christian Right leaders continue to be far less willing to embrace her (or Sarah Palin, for that matter) than the rank-and-file or more secular politicos. Is that sexism at work? Possibly. Maybe even probably. But geography is an important factor as well. Many Christian Right leaders think the GOP primary schedule favors a Southern candidate. And southern Minnesota does not count.

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