Campaigning On His Bible

Dec 5 2013 @ 12:03pm

Sen. Mark Pryor pitches himself to the devout:

Waldman provides background information:

The context here is that Arkansas is not just a state with a dwindling number of Democrats, it’s also one of the most religious states in the country, and of a particular kind. According to Gallup, Arkansas is tied for the fourth-most-religious state, measured by the proportion of people who say they are “very religious” (only Mississippi, Utah, and Alabama rank higher). And perhaps more importantly, according to the Pew Research Center, Arkansas is tied with Oklahoma for the largest percentage of evangelical Christians of any state, at 53 percent of the population. Arkansas ranks eighth in the frequency of attendance at religious service, seventh in the frequency of prayer, third in the percentage who say religion is very important in their lives, and fifth in the certainty with which people believe in God, with 84 percent saying they believe with “absolute certainty.”

Sarah Posner dissects the ad:

Pryor is trying to have it both ways: the Bible is his guide, but he doesn’t have all the answers, God does, leaving him enough wiggle room to seem bipartisan without actually explaining what his record is and why he has taken the positions he has. Setting aside the essential question that dogs us here—why in an increasingly pluralistic country do only Christian credentials seem to count as essential for holding public office—does Pryor’s ad actually meet a definition of humility? Or is this statement of faith merely a substitute for owning his voting record?

I actually thought it was pretty inoffensive. It doesn’t cross the line into Christianism of right or left, because he leaves space for disagreement on how a Christian might respond to emergent problems in a multi-cultural society. And it may seem a little desperate, but not completely phony to me.