When Did “Believer” Start Meaning “Evangelical”?

Earlier this week, The God-O-Meter noted that the Obama campaign was unveiling a new line of faith merchandise:

And so, of course, the Religious Right felt compelled to weigh in and dismiss the entire idea that people who don’t subscribe to their right-wing views can have any sort of faith at all:

Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a member of the Focus on the Family board, called the move “symbolism and style over substance.”

“This generic reach-out to people of ‘faith’ is going to be pretty quickly seen for what it is: more advertising than substance,” he told CitizenLink. “This became abundantly clear in the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency, when Barack Obama, having declared that he and his campaign were going to be reaching out to evangelicals, seemed to be completely out of touch with what evangelicals were concerned about, especially on issues of human life and marriage.”

Mohler said he doesn’t expect most Americans to fall for the “clever packaging.”

“To put out a button that says ‘Pro-Family, Pro-Obama’ says basically nothing, other than a very clear attempt to use the language,” he said. “‘Believers for Barack’ is very interesting, but believers in what? Believers in whom?”

First of all, the term “believer” is not synonymous with “evangelical” and, try as they might, the Right does not own the terms “family” and “believer,” and it does not get to decide who can and cannot use them.