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Evangelical Lite

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Message Jayne Lyn Stahl
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Let's be perfectly clear here--the only way Barack Obama is going to win the election, in November, is by standing his ground, and not becoming indistinguishable from the radical right wing platform with respect to two important issues: guns and choice.

In a segment, leaked by Politico from an interview scheduled for later this week, Obama tells George Stephanoulos that he regrets being flippant on the subject of abortion, at Saddleback, and that he now wants to clarify: “What I intended to say is that, as a Christian, I have a lot of humility about understanding when does the soul enter into … It's a pretty tough question. And so, all I meant to communicate was that I don't presume to be able to answer these kinds of theological questions...I think the better answer — and this was reflected in the Democratic platform — is to figure out, how do we make sure the young mothers, or women who have a pregnancy that's unexpected or difficult, have the kind of support they need to make a whole range of choices, including adoption and keeping the child."

A cursory look at the words italicized above will show that the Democratic party is in deep doo-doo unless it starts to stay out of the Bible belt, and push for separation of church and state, evolution, the right to choose, and the right to privacy. Compromising on these issues, by becoming Evangelical Lite, will only lead to blurring the lines of demarcation between the two parties which, as you know, are already pretty fuzzy.

Obama would be wise to heed the words of another "first dude," Thomas Jefferson, "Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear. " Yes, and this, too, from T.J. : "Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."

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The reason Sarah Payless has higher approval ratings than either of the presidential contenders is that she's not pandering to win votes. That may be because she's thinking about what she needs at Walmart, or maybe because she just doesn't give a flying fajita about getting the job, especially when she's not even sure what the vice president does. Americans are suckers for independents, even when they don't know what they're independent from.

Unless Obama wants his run for chief executive to end the way John Kerry's did, the best answer for him is to follow Sarah Palin, and stick to his guns, especially those that don't backfire. That's right, Obama needs to stand up for core values of the Democrats like religious tolerance, affirmative action, gun control, a woman's right to choose, and diplomacy over war-mongering.

Stand up, or step down, Senator; anything less is pandering.
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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.
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