Is Kerry being disingenuous in citing his faith?
The Philadelphia Inquirer has an article that thinks so.
From America Votes | Kerry invokes God to appeal to the faithful, by Dick Polman, Inquirer Staff Writer
As Kerry spokesman Mike McCurry said the other day, "Most Americans are deeply religious people." Indeed, the latest polls indicate that roughly 70 percent of Americans want their president to be a person of strong religious beliefs. And that fact merely reminds Democrats about the 2000 race, when George W. Bush clobbered Al Gore by a double-digit margin among those voters - 42 percent of the electorate - who attend religious services at least once a week. In that sense, Democrats were foiled by what some call "the God gap."
So they want to close that gap - by wooing the large pool of moderate Christians who see religiosity as a fine presidential trait, who view their faith as socially compassionate, yet who reject the conservative belief that church doctrine should be imposed on policy.
Jeff Bell, a conservative Roman Catholic activist who favors government bans on gay marriage and stem-cell research, says: "The Democrats finally realize that the secularist mentality was a mistake, and they shouldn't try to leave God out of everything they say. And the social consciousness thing that many Christians have - that could be a plus for Kerry. It's in his interest to hype it up."
John Green, an Ohio expert on religion and politics, says that, for Kerry, the persuadable voters fall into two categories: "centrist Catholics" and "centrist evangelicals." Together, he says, they constitute roughly 19 percent of the electorate, "and that's really where Kerry's battle with Bush is being waged."
Kerry badly needs to sway these centrists, because he'll get scant help from conservative Catholics, whose leaders have been systematically wooed by the Bush team since the 2000 campaign, complete with weekly White House meetings. In fact, a number of Catholic bishops contend that Kerry doesn't deserve to receive communion because of his stance in favor of abortion rights; and they're telling Catholics it's a sin to vote for any presidential candidate who doesn't fully condemn abortion, gay marriage, and stem-cell research.
So, following from this, it seems reasonable to conclude that Kerry is talking about his faith not so much because it really matters to him, but because it may bring him some crucial swing voters. Hmmmmmm. I wonder if that is true.
By the by, I may not be looking in the right places, but I don't see anyone in the mainstream press doubting Bush's faith. Do you? If so, please give me a link since I would be very interested in reading it. (Please note: I did say "the mainstream press"--I don't need to be reading articles out of Mother Jones magazine.)