Yesterday, The Press Register in Alabama ran an op-ed by Randy Brinson entitled “Language of Faith Hijacked.” In it, Brinson complained that all of the talk of faith in the current presidential election is confusing voters:
In this presidential cycle, nearly every campaign, both Democrat and Republican, has developed a faith outreach component to facilitate communicating to the faithful. The 2008 presidential election will focus on the faith and values of the individual candidates more than any in modern history.
While this may give solace to many faith-oriented political activists, it only makes it difficult for voters to decipher which candidate truly understands the link between personal faith and policy.
Despite this onslaught of personal spirituality, it has been even more difficult for voters to determine whether some of the candidates even understand the particular faith they profess to embrace.
Brinson went on to criticize Barack Obama, saying that his talk of faith, “may be losing the audience he seeks to engage,” and Mitt Romney, questioning “if his Mormon faith guided his present moral convictions, what guided him when he was pro-choice and pro-gay-rights?”
Brinson concluded by seemingly urging these candidates, and presumably others, to focus less on faith and more on “candor, integrity, honesty and character,” as that is what voters are looking for in a candidate.
Of course, nowhere in the piece does Brinson bother to mention that he has been actively involved in assisting Mike Huckabee:
The Values Voter barnstorm [through Iowa] will be led by Pastor Rick Scarborough, an early Huckabee endorser. Participants include R. Randolph “Randy” Brinson, an iconoclastic social conservative doctor from Alabama who possesses a huge list of Iowa pastors and Christian conservatives. He’s also the head of ReedemTheVote, which was active in 2004 and 2006 as a voter registration vehicle for young evangelicals.
As the Washington Post explained last month:
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s surge in Iowa, from single digits in the polls to a virtual tie for the lead among Republicans, has captivated the political world and prompted speculation about just how he did it.
The Fix may have found the answer: a physician from Montgomery, Ala., named Randy Brinson.
Brinson is the keeper of a massive e-mail list of much-coveted Christian voters that Huckabee is using to reach and organize people in early-voting states such as Iowa.
Brinson’s list numbers about 71 million contacts, with 25 million identified as belonging to “25 and 45 years old, upwardly mobile, right-of-center, conservative households,” he said. In other words, a target-rich environment for a candidate such as Huckabee, who is preaching a compassionate conservative message heavily infused with religious sentiment.
In fact, this op-ed appears to be an outgrowth of an email Brinson sent around not too long ago attacking Mitt Romney for … you guessed it, hijacking the language of faith:
Brinson wrote an e-mail distributed widely in Iowa that questioned the changed views of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on abortion and gay rights and that asked whether Romney was really being led by his Mormon faith.
Some political commentators have credited that e-mail with being one of several factors that helped turn out conservative Christians for Huckabee.
Brinson said Friday he sent the e-mail because he was concerned that some candidates had “hijacked the language of faith.”
Since he’s backing Huckabee, who has made his faith the center of his campaign, Brinson is obviously not worried about political candidates using faith for political purposes. But like many other religious right activists, he seems to think the “language of faith” is reserved for the “right” kind of “Christian Leader.”