Back in June,The Min­nesota Inde­pen­dent explored the ques­tion of what type of Vice Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Min­nesota Gov­er­nor Tim Paw­lenty would make, and in par­tic­u­lar whether Paw­lenty could bring evan­gel­i­cal vot­ers out to vote for John McCain.  

Although McCain has won the GOP nom­i­na­tion, some evan­gel­i­cal lead­ers such as James Dob­son have expressed that they will not vote for him because he is too “lib­eral.”  Can Paw­lenty bridge this gap?

Here are some excerpts from the story:

Paw­lenty became an evan­gel­i­cal Chris­t­ian in the mid-1980s when he mar­ried Mary Ander­son, a mem­ber of Wood­dale Church, an evan­gel­i­cal megachurch in Eden Prairie. The cou­ple were mar­ried by the Rev. Leith Ander­son, a senior pas­tor at Wood­dale since 1977. Ander­son hap­pens to be the pres­i­dent of the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Evan­gel­i­cals, an orga­ni­za­tion rep­re­sent­ing more than 30 mil­lion Amer­i­can evan­gel­i­cals. In fact, Ander­son had been the pres­i­dent of NAE from 1999 to 2003, and became the cur­rent pres­i­dent after the Rev. Ted Haggard’s trou­bles involv­ing metham­phet­a­mines and gay sex forced him out in 2006.


In 2003, Paw­lenty and Wood­dale hosted about 1,600 evan­gel­i­cal lead­ers from around the coun­try for a two-day con­ven­tion of the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Evan­gel­i­cals. Paw­lenty praised the work of Pres­i­dent Bush and his faith-based ini­tia­tives, a pro­gram that fun­nels fed­eral funds to reli­gious char­i­ties. “If you’re going to change destruc­tive behav­ior, you’ve got to change hearts,” said Paw­lenty, accord­ing to the Star Tri­bune. “Gov­er­nors can’t do that. We hope you can do that in a God-honoring man­ner that meets the chal­lenges of our day.”

In 2005, Paw­lenty cre­ated the Governor’s Coun­cil on Faith and Com­mu­nity Ser­vice Ini­tia­tives, a Min­nesota ver­sion of Bush’s White House Office of Faith Based and Com­mu­nity Ini­tia­tives. Also in 2005, Paw­lenty began National Day of Prayer ser­vices at the State Capi­tol, a move that gar­nered sig­nif­i­cant praise from evan­gel­i­cals and social con­ser­v­a­tives. In fact, annual Minnesota’s Day of Prayer activ­i­ties, at which Paw­lenty is a reg­u­lar speaker, are exclu­sively evan­gel­i­cal, due to a takeover of such events by Shirley Dob­son, wife of Focus on the Family’s James Dobson.


Paw­lenty toed the line for the Fam­ily Coun­cil and Min­nesota Cit­i­zens Con­cerned for Life in the 2008 ses­sion when he vetoed leg­is­la­tion to fund stem cell research and leg­is­la­tion to allow cities to imple­ment domes­tic part­ner ben­e­fits. He even vetoed a bill authored by a fel­low Repub­li­can, Rep. Kathy Tin­glestad. Her bill would for­mal­ize the processes involved in sur­ro­gate moth­er­hood, but because anti-choice groups said it didn’t ban abor­tion, Paw­lenty vetoed the bill.


Paw­lenty courts the reli­gious right in Min­nesota albeit on the down-low. He’s made appear­ances at anti-abortion ral­lies, and was a fea­tured speaker at the Min­nesota Fam­ily Council’s Leg­isla­tive Insights Lun­cheon in early 2007. A mem­ber of that group asked him, “Do you think you would have won with­out the faith-based vote?” Paw­lenty quickly responded “No,” and was greeted with laugh­ter and applause.

Will McCain pick him as the VP Can­di­date?  We’ll know in a few hours.

Read the full news­pa­per story at The Min­nesota Inde­pen­dent 

Thanks to Pas­tor­dan for post­ing a link to this on his blog “Street Prophets.”


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