By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) - Does a group of more than 150 conservative leaders stand a chance of reshaping the race to the White House? There are reasons for doubt.
Members of the group, which met at a Texas ranch Friday and Saturday, voted Saturday to back GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum. Many of the conservative leaders are well past their primes, with declining influence, and the nominating contest is already pretty far along.
The news media has made much of the meeting, which includes such well-known evangelicals as Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference president Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer.
The South Carolina primary - a key test of conservative strength - comes just a week after the Texas meeting.
“Some of these evangelical leaders are not as active as they once were in politics and the evangelical movement has changed a little overtime,” says John Green, a political scientist from the University of Akron. “Where this group could have an effect is if they coalesced around one candidate and then helped to provide resources.”
Boots on the ground, phone lists, robocalls, and even the possibility of an evangelical super PAC could move the needle for a candidate, Green said. But the time for such resource-intensive mobilization is growing thin.
"These kind of meetings can have some impact if they can come to a clear resolution six months ago," says Gary Marx, executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a national conservative group. "It’s very difficult for a newly formed consensus to turn into strong action in such a short period of time."
Another factor that could dampen the impact of the group meeting in Texas: attendees have already signed up with different candidates.
Bauer is supporting Rick Santorum. American Family Association founder Don Wildmon is backing Newt Gingrich. Other participants have endorsed Rick Perry or Mitt Romney.
"Is it possible that a consensus could be reached? I think it’s possible but not probable," said Perkins, prior to the Saturday vote. " I think what most likely will occur is you will see individual leaders endorse a candidate.”
Bauer says the coalition that's meeting in Texas has been getting together regularly for more than five years around various issues. But there's not always agreement.
"We tried to unite around one candidate in 2008 and were unsuccessful,” he says. “I am skeptical that out of [this meeting] will come any type of consensus.”
Romney is the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination but many social conservative leaders aren't exactly gaga over him.
“I do think there is great concern Romney is not the most conservative candidate in the race,” says Perkins, who helped organize the Texas meeting. “There’s a desire to see a candidate that’s truly conservative and can energize conservative voters and win the general election.
"There will be a discussion about that," he says. "Is there a candidate a consensus could form around that could carry the conservative banner?”
Some who are attending the Texas powwow are frustrated that evangelicals are dividing their influence among a handful of Republican candidates, creating an easier path for Romney.
News of the meeting, happening about halfway between Houston and Austin, leaked out last week and framed the event as part of a search for an anti-Romney candidate. Meeting organizers vehemently deny that notion.
“We’re not having an anti-Romney meeting - it’s not true,” Paul Pressler, a former judge who is hosting the meeting on his ranch, told CNN. “That’s a figment of the imagination of the press. We’re having an anti-Obama meeting.”
Pressler served in the Texas state legislature as a Democrat until 1993. He has said that “the Democratic Party left me.”
Bauer said that if meeting was aimed to stop a particular candidate, "I would focus my attention on Ron Paul, not Mitt Romney.”
But Perkins said the leaders may come to the conclusion it is time to press certain candidates to leave the race, which he said was a lesson of the 2008 race, when Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson split some evangelical votes in South Carolina and elsewhere.
“There could be a consensus arrived at that would maybe nudge candidates to maybe step out before it’s too late," Perkins said.
Supporters of various candidates are expected to talk up their picks at the meeting, focusing on where each candidate stands economic and social issues.
But some conservative Christian leaders oppose the very idea of the meeting.
“I think group think isn’t the way to go,” Bob Vander Plaats, President of the conservative Family Leader in Iowa said. “We have too many pro-family candidates in the race. If we dilute our support Romney will win.”
Vander Plaats personally endorsed Santorum. Although he received an invitation Pressler's ranch event, he won’t be attending.
“The leaders who lead these organizations know what to do,” he said.
“I would say switch your tickets and go to South Carolina or Florida where you can help.”
“From my angle, leaders are called to lead," he added. "I don’t think they should be watching the dance play out from the sidelines.”
Marriage is NOT a church issue. It is a civil issue. Marriage was around LONG LONG before any recognized religion. You do NOT need any church to get married, but you do need a civil license, even for a church wedding. A state sets marriage laws, not a church.
Where are marriages performed? What is Holy Matrimony?
Tim–frequently at courthouses and in drive by wedding chapels on the Las Vegas strip, in addition to churches. What ia an "unholy alliance"?
Marriage is only a religious issue. Civil unions are up to the government
God created man, Adam the first man. God created woman Eve the first woman. God brought Adam and Eve, the first of their kind together in marriage. How does marriage predate religion again? Could you illustrate a married couple before your concept of recognized religion?
I got married in a park, with a fairly low level bureaucrat presiding. Marital rights are defined by the state, not by the church.
Oh, here's Inconvenient again, citing fables as history once more.
Organized religion has been around a long time. The Sumerians were the earliest to leave behind written records and they had religion. So it's not known when marriage as a legal insti-tution arose as compared to organized religion. But taking a mate has been around for millions of years, long before modern humans arose.
Newt Gingrich? Really? He was one of the three being considered by "conservative" "Christians"? Bahahaha.
WOW debt=GDP last week and Santorum is surging because he HATES GAYS, I wish the media were a little more explicit about this fact. THAT IS WHAT HE MEANS BY "Family values". And I'll just say sad, sad eyes Santorum, is the farthest from a model Christian. He has sad, sad eyes and hates. In complete opposition to Jesus. AMAZING that the "evangelical elites" #1 concern is HATING GAYS. Marriage has nothing to do with the state! It's a church issue. And the state just santifies it with tax/legal benefits. But that doesn't really matter anyways, Santorum wants to take away many more rights than just marriage from gays, and from everyone's private life for that matter.
THIS COUNTRY, needs Ron Paul or Jon Huntsman
Yes, the republican sheep need to be told who to vote for as they are incapable of thinking for themselves.
Otherwise, they wouldn't still believe in imaginary beings.
Conservatism is based on logic and conservatives are known primarily for independent thought. Notice the extreme disagreement on who to nominate.
Conservatives...independent thought...same sentence...I'm not exactly sure how to describe hysterical laughter in text.
Conservatives, especially Christian conservatives, are followers by definition–hardly an independent bone in their sad little puppet bodies. They look to just about any authority figure, but especially the clergy, for clues how to think, how to act, what to say, and especially how to vote. It's in their nature–that's what makes them good christians.
The psychology of the Christian conservative makes them the perfect group for the GOP to co-opt. You just have to press the right buttons and these faithful Christian soldiers will snap to attention to do your bidding. The malleability of this group is the reason, the only reason, the GOP gives a darn about abortion and gay marriage. Those are hot button issues designed specifically to manipulate the GOP's Christian rank-and-file. The puppet master is just pulling the strings.
@ "Reality"-you're truly a weirdo. But I tolerate your post.
It is a lot easier to keep the cow in the barn if you close the door before it gets out rather than trying to get the cow back in the barn.
Hey, thanks for the duh of the day. I have to point out, however, that farmers get cows back into the barn all the time. I wouldn't lie awake worrying about the possibility, you know?
Dear 150 Lost Evangelicals,
We welcome you to the 21st century with a prayer:
The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
Franky, I'm skeptical that there even WAS a Jesus. There may have been, but it's just as likely he was mythical figure built up over the years like a King Arthur. After all, no one during his supposed lifetime seems to have written about him. The first writings are 40 years after his death. This smacks of legend, not a true historical person. And out of 42 contemporary historians in the Roman Republic, not one seems to have taken notice of this so-called son of God.
So I agree with you on the dubiousness of Jesus being a supernatural being–and take it a step further by doubting he even existed (though no one can say for sure). But what do you mean by "to compete with the Caesar myths." Caesar was an undeniably real figure. And unlike Jesus, many people who knew him in his lifetime actually wrote about him (often in not-so-flattering terms). This is what people do when a real person exists–they write letters about him and detail their own experiences with him, rather than legends that they heard third and forth hand. Anyway, I'm wondering what Caesar myths you're talking about.
Why rule out the possibility? Why not say you don't know if God exists and leave it at that?
The best response for reality? do not engage hit report abuse on all posts
From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.
"That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.
“ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.
“While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "
“My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.
I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."
See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .
Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.
Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.
There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus
See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.
"One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.
Then there are these scriptural references:
Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )
Added suggested readings:
o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
– a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–
30-60 CE Passion Narrative
40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
50-60 1 Thessalonians
50-60 1 Corinthians
50-60 2 Corinthians
50-90 Signs Gospel
50-95 Book of Hebrews
50-140 Gospel of Thomas
50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
65-80 Gospel of Mark
70-100 Epistle of James
70-120 Egerton Gospel
70-160 Gospel of Peter
70-160 Secret Mark
70-200 Fayyum Fragment
70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
80-100 2 Thessalonians
80-100 Gospel of Matthew
80-110 1 Peter
80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
80-130 Gospel of Luke
80-130 Acts of the Apostles
80-140 1 Clement
80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
80-250 Christian Sibyllines
90-95 Apocalypse of John
90-120 Gospel of John
90-120 1 John
90-120 2 John
90-120 3 John
90-120 Epistle of Jude
93 Flavius Josephus
100-150 1 Timothy
100-150 2 Timothy
100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
100-150 Secret Book of James
100-150 Preaching of Peter
100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
100-160 2 Peter
3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
– "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
when confronted with reality bull sh it hit report abuse on all of it
And where did OT, NT, and koranic scribes get their embellishing ideas? From the Hitt-ites, Babylonians, Buddhists, Greeks, Macedonians and the Romans!!!!
"Stories circulated to the effect that Alexander of Macedonia was not only the son of Philip II, but also of the god Zeus-Ammon (Plutarch, Parallel Lives, "Alexander" 2.1-3.2); Plato was the son of Ariston and the god Apollo (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 3.1-2), and Augustus was the son of Octavius as well as the god Apollo (Suetonius, Lives o f the Caesars 2.4.1-7). The extraordinary character of these elites reputedly stemmed from both their divine origins and their kingroups. Their kin-groups provided one form of legitimation-political right to the throne and/or social status (thus the importance of Joseph in Matthew's genealogy). Their divine procreation provided another: their honor was divinely ascribed, and their greatness as leaders derived from divine paternity."
From: K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998. p.55
@Realist The Caesars made themselves out to be gods. That was mythology, even if they themselves were real.
OK, Tim. I don't know whether Odin exists. I'll leave it at that.
Yet again-so much darkness,hate & utter disdain for Christians on this page. I've read that anger is fear. What are you afraid of that you are so intolerant of the belief in God & His Word held by a Christian? Where's YOUR tolerance? btw....any of you celebrate Christmas last month? Just curious. Oh-& 9/11....were you this outspoken & hateful when our President prayed to God for America's citizens who suffered loss & for our country in its time of need? Everybody's all o.k. w/that amidst tragedy, no?
We're tolerant people, but 2000 years of ignorance gets a bit old, don't you think? We're ready for the rest of humanity to stop ascribing natural events to imaginary beings. It's really no different than Indians' rain god, or the volcano god, etc. It's so childish and silly. Please join us in the 21st century. It really is such a freeing experience to know that you don't have to walk around wondering if you're pleasing some made-up, wrathful, petulant god who concerns himself with the pettiest human events (Leviticus). It's so infantile–literally–to think that a god would care if the tiny creature that is you prayed to him. He must really have a low self esteem if he needs to have praise from so many people with such low IQs. That must be so satisfying to him, being worshiped by such people, and yet knowing that the most brilliant people disdain his very concept. But of course an imaginary being can't really get angry. I look forward to the day when people stop living their lives according to mythology.
TIMES has really changed. When I was MUCH younger, I heard the Rev. Dr. Oliver B. Greene, radio preacher(Coast to Coast) STATE "Keep a sharp eyes on the politicians and government- there's no room for them in churches AND there's no room for us in politics and government- this is how Church and State gets combined".
SOMEHOW in the last few years, we are observing preachers intermingling in politics. NEVER saw this in my youth.
I'm sure the preachers have a good silver-tongued reason for crossing the barrier into political life and holding onto the pulpit at the same time. Since sin has finally been overcome, perhaps they have massive time on their hands AND church funds to go with it. Today they met in Texas and agreed to back Rick Santorum. I'm sure the monies will come out of their own pockets and not church funds.
At this late in the game and with this sad, miserable crop of ignorant fundamentalist GOP radicals, Obama is going to be re-elected. Forget it. Americans may be stupid but they are not that stupid. Even the staunchest middle class conservative realizes by now, that the GOP candidacy pool is better fitted for Ringling Bros. than for the presidency of this great country. What a sad bunch of brainless stooges. Shame on the GOP!
No, America as a whole is not that stupid – but just enough folks are to get to the 50+1 objective enshrined by Karl Rove.
I think in this economy – and believe, me it pains me to say this, I cannot imagine turning this country over to the very people and policies that drove us all off a cliff – anybody that puts on pants and shows up who isn't Obama will get elected. It's terrifying, and it's sad, and it's yes, stupid.
It's not that stupid people are a large enough group all by themselves to tank us again – but in combination with the greedy and with the well-intentioned fundamentalist Christians who get used politically by the greedy, they are enough to tip the scale.
Watching millions go into voting booths to pull levers against their own self-interest each election because they have been conned by the powerful or enjoined to in the name of God (who incidentally, would weep at this travesty) from pulpits is the saddest view of democracy going.
I wish you were right.
Oh...Yaaaaaaawn. Romney's ALREADY toast. Let's talk about something else. The 2012 outcome has ALREADY been decided and it's BOOOOOORRRRRRIIIIINNNNG. Let's talk about Obama's replacement...in 2016. I say Hillary! Any comments?
This group of leaders is a threat to America. They are the puppet masters who pit Americans against Americans, who pit Americans against the world. In the name of god they wreak havoc. Fear them for they seek to divide and destroy, they wear the sheep's clothing but walk the way of the fox.
It sounds like you're describing exactly the three years of Bozobama's garbage that we've put up with.
it is not about religion. do you have a plan to decrese the national debt?
GOP Evangelicals; "WE LOVE JESUS!, but hate minorities, gays, illegals and everybody else who doesn't look and believe as we do!"
You forgot about the part of where they are opposed to intolerance, but opposed to the things you mentioned.
Opposition is not hate. Opposing illegal activity is not hate.
SEPARATION OF CHIURCH AND STATE! THIS MEANS YOU YOU STUPID MORIONS.
You'd think that, knowing they are minorities, but want influence, the conservatives and the tea party would push the case for for a proportional representation voting system.
Why all the effort to support a candidate to win second place?
Thank goodness they did not go with Perry.
Mitt Romney Keeps Defending the Individual Mandate:
The Romney Con Exposed:
Rush Limbaugh: Romney Is Not Mr. Conservative!
Why Did A Former Romney Campaigner Defect to Another Candidate?
Study: On Spending Cuts, Most GOP Candidates Light On Details; Who Isn't?: http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/30/study-on-spendi...
Another great place for information on the candidates is The Conservative Scorecard, which is an easy-to-read description on the strength of the candidates on key conservative positions. The ratings are based on their prior statements and positions over their political careers. It can be found here:
Jon Huntsman Was for Cap and Trade Before He Was Against It:
Gingrich would be worse than Obama on Foreign Policy: http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/28/gingrich-would-...
Watch the Brett Baier interview and watch him deny ever flip flopping and the video footage that is SHOCKING. "Mittstant Replay" youtube, and check out "Mitt v Mitt"
WHAT???? Bizarre!!!! Why Did The Nephew of Rick Santorum Endorse Another GOP Candidate & Call Santorum His "Big Government Uncle Rick"? http://dailycaller.com/2012/01/03/the-trouble-wit...
Who Is Rick Santorum?
Club For Growth FACT CHECK Confirms Santorum A “Big-Government Conservative”!
Fraud & Betrayal From Another Shocking Big Government Pretend Conservative Hypocrite Exposed: http://www.redstate.com/erick/2012/01/06/what-a-b... http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embed...
Liberal Rick Santorum & How He Supported Controversial, Big Government, Anti-Gun, Pro-Abortion Candidates & Helped Pass ObamaCare: http://www.newsmax.com/InsideCover/Santorum-Haunt... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/06/rick-san... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/05/santorum... http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/rand-pa... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Gwwmm-cQxU&fe... http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/02/r... http://www.ronpaul2012.com/2012/01/02/santorums-l... http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bill-oreilly-grills-ri...
Santorum Supported Individual Healthcare Mandate (From Pennsylvania’s The Morning Callnewspaper, May 2, 1994): “Santorum and Watkins would require individuals to buy health insurance rather than forcing employers to pay for employee benefits.”
Now Santorum Even Flip-Flops On "Audit The Fed"!
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.