- Dean -- who once drew criticism by dismissing the GOP as a "white Christian party" -- told a San Francisco audience that his party should open its arms to a new group of converts: young evangelical Christian voters.
"We ought to reach out to those folks ... and not be afraid," Dean told an audience of about 125 at a $50-a head Democratic National Committee fundraiser Wednesday night at the Palace Hotel. The national party chairman noted that in the wake of the 2006 midterm election, nearly 30 percent of evangelical Christians now identify themselves as Democratic voters, up 10 percentage points from the previous election.
Dean credited the jump in numbers to the party's recent aggressive outreach. "We went out and advertised on Christian broadcast networks ... because in the evangelical movement, young people are changing America -- and they're changing the evangelical movement."
"People don't want to go to church anymore ... and come out feeling bad because they happen to know somebody who's gay," he said. "People want to go to church because they know what they can do about poverty, about Darfur, about the environment."
Dean specifically cited the positive impacts of Christian leaders such as Rick Warren -- author of the best-selling "The Purpose-Driven Life," and pastor of the Orange County-based Saddleback Church -- and of young pastor Joel Osteen, the televangelist sensation who has welcomed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to his Houston-based Lakewood Church.
"Those people don't beat up on other people to make their point and raise a lot of money," he said. "And we need to reach out to those folks, and work with them, and not be afraid. There is common cause with folks that we never thought we had common cause with."
I happen to enjoy being a registered non-partisan. Gives me wiggle room, but also gives me distance from both major political parties. Neither is a solid party, neither presents a truly biblical worldview, and neither is headed in the right direction right now. Gee, I just can't wait until next year's presidential election.
(And don't leave negative messages about the Dean pic. Of course the cat wasn't there in the original photo. I just happen to like this one better.)