Welcome Back, Christian Coalition

The Christian Coalition has had its share of problems in recent years. Ever since Ralph Reed left, the Coalition has been in a freefall, watching as state chapters sever their ties with the national organization and then start suing each other and then trying to hire a new president to turn everythying around, only to have him resign before ever taking office because they are unwilling to consider broadening their agenda.

It was into this chaos that Dennis Baxley stepped when he took over the Christian Coalition of Florida earlier this year, seemingly fully aware of the organization’s increasing irrelevance:

Until the Christian Coalition shows again that its endorsed candidates can win major offices, Baxley said, its influence will be negligible.

“Is anyone going to care what grade they get from the Christian Coalition?” Baxley asked. 

But Baxley has been working hard to turn that around and got off to a good start by getting Mike Huckabee to headline their God and Country Gala back in July.  And now it looks like Baxley is doing his part to recapture some of the Coalition’s former glory by experimenting with the Right’s standard means of generating coverage for itself: saying stupid things in the press

Here’s what Dennis Baxley, a former state legislator from Ocala and the executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, one of the most prominent groups on the religious right, said during an interview with the Miami Herald about Obama’s outreach to the Christian community:

“He’s pretty scary to us,” he said. “I think his Muslim roots and training — while they try to minimize it — it’s there.”

Asked what he meant, Baxley pointed to Obama’s childhood stint in Indonesia and his Muslim relatives.

“That concerns me particularly in the period of history we are living in, when there’s an active movement by radical Muslims to occupy us,” Baxley said of Obama’s background. “That whole way of life is all about submission. It concerns me that someone rooted in those beginnings, how it might have affected their outlook. That’s what scary for me.”

Baxley on Obama’s trip to Europe: “I think you can tell from his appeal and how a lot of the media emphasized how loved he is in other places. I’m very concerned that our own American values rooted in Christian principles be protected. It’s fine with me if he wants to run for chancellor of Germany or chief of the European union, but not for president of the United States. I’m concerned about someone who has those global priorities. I just want someone who will take those responsibilities of preserving American values and American culture and not try to make us citizens of the world.”

On Obama’s description of himself as a devout Christian: “I don’t want to pass judgment. I take him at face value. I do look at his story and where he’s been, and the influence of the Rev. Wright-type of Christianity, and I’m not sure that’s what I relate to…He wants to tax the rich more and redistribute wealth to other people — where I come from that’s socialism. Karl Marx was not a Christian.”

Asked if he speaks in public about Obama’s “Muslim roots”: “I really don’t talk about candidates. I talk about issues. My greatest challenge is not Obama, it’s apathy. I’m trying to get values voters to rise out of their apathy and participate…I can’t speak for anyone else but I’m probably typical of all of the people who are suspect of those Muslim roots. We all know what early intervention with children is all about, and I am really wondering what the influence was on him from his father’s background and being in a Muslim country. I’m not cooking up some plot about Muslims trying to inject a leader into our country but I am wondering how it influences his thinking.”