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Conservative Christians rally around Akin in face of GOP criticism
Rep. Todd Akin has defied GOP pressure to get out of the U.S. Senate race in Missouri.
August 23rd, 2012
01:12 PM ET

Conservative Christians rally around Akin in face of GOP criticism

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – Even as the official Republican Party continues to try to derail Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin over his remarks about “legitimate rape,” a powerful force within the GOP has begun rallying to the candidate’s side: the party’s socially conservative base.

Powerful Christian activists in the GOP have begun pushing back against party leadership, alleging it has gone too far in trying to thwart Akin and that it is attempting to sideline issues that social conservatives care about, such as abortion.

The criticism is creating major tensions between the mainstream Republican Party and a key part of its base days before the GOP’s convention is set to open in Tampa, Florida.

“Following the pounding of Todd Akin by the GOP kings and lieutenants in the last 36 hours, I've come to the conclusion that the real issue is the soul of America,” wrote David Lane, an evangelical activist who’s influential in the Republican Party, in an e-mail to fellow activists Thursday morning.

Top Catholic to close GOP convention

“The swift knee-jerk reaction to throw Akin, a strong conservative pro-life, pro-family born again Christian under the bus by some in the Republican Party is shining the light on their actual agenda,” Lane continued.

“We haven't seen anything this vicious since some of the same operatives did this to (Sarah) Palin.”

While many conservative Christian groups have criticized Akin over his “legitimate rape” comment and for claiming that women’s bodies can prevent conception in such cases, the groups have also emphasized that they stand with Akin in opposing abortion, even in instances of rape.

Not all conservative Christian activists are taking Akin's side against the GOP.

"I think it splits the social conservative movement," says Richard Land, who heads public policy for the Southern Baptist Convention. "Some people say, 'Look he is our guy, we are going to stand with him.'

"And some people are saying the odds are this is a fatal blow at least in this election cycle," Land says. "For the good of the movement, for the good of the pro-life cause ... he needs to do what's best for the cause and throw himself on his shield."

Land, who was in Tampa on Thursday attending meetings around the convention, said he thinks Akin should drop out.

Many Republican leaders, from presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, also have called on Akin to get out of the race.

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the American Crossroads super PAC that backs GOP candidates both announced that they will stop spending money on the Missouri Senate race. Even tea party groups that have backed Akin in the past said he should step aside for the good of the party and the conservative cause.

The Republican National Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the social conservative criticisms of the party on Thursday.

Akin, who won a tough primary battle this month, has apologized for his comments but also defied pressure to get out of the election.

Republican officials have told CNN on condition of not being identified that the Akin controversy hurts on several fronts. It decreases the chances of capturing Missouri’s Senate seat, which is crucial to GOP hopes of winning control of the chamber, they said.

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And the brouhaha shifts the national discussion to divisive social issues that could repel swing voters rather than economic ones that could attract them in a climate of high unemployment and stumbling recovery, the GOP officials said.

Akin has bowed to Republican pressure to skip the Republican convention next week. But the Senate candidate was in Tampa on Wednesday night to meet with a powerful group of religious conservatives, according to a source familiar with the trip.

In a note to supporters Wednesday night, conservative Family Research Council President Tony Perkins heaped criticism on the GOP for abandoning Akin.

"Todd Akin has a long and distinguished record of defending women, children, and families and unlike the GOP establishment, I refuse to throw him under the bus over one inarticulate comment for which he has apologized,” wrote Perkins, who is in Tampa attending events leading up the convention.

“As for the GOP, it has no rational basis for deserting Akin when it has stood by moderate Republicans who've done worse,” Perkins continued. “Singling out Todd suggests a double standard, designed to drive out social conservatives.”

CNN’s Tom Cohen and Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Abortion • Politics • Tea Party

soundoff (1,510 Responses)
  1. A Woman

    It amazes me that the right wing, still support sending our young men and women into a war that doesn't discriminate who will be killed day after day, but God forbid, if young people want to purchase birth control pills.

    August 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  2. President

    First amendment could go to hell..... We will make sure Christianity is put an official religion in the US.

    August 23, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Trouble expressing yourself? Try proper grammar. Then again, I'm guessing that the message you likely wanted to express is stupid, so I'd prefer that you not write it intelligently. As you were.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Bman

      Ok, We'll take away your guns first that amendment ain't worth the spit off a snail, Then when we're ddone with that we'll round up all the Christians and let them exercise their right to free speech in Hell!

      August 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  3. conoclast

    Akin has been on top of this situation from the outset. He's just doing a little fundraising with his relignorant base, end of story. Nice timing though, dude!

    August 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  4. !

    FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK everyone who don't believe in Jesus

    August 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • ArthurP

      Profanity is the attempt of a feeble mind to express itself forcefully.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      If only the christian god would stop at the profanity you share instead of sustaining an eternal torture pit for all nonbelievers. Biblegod is the ultimate terrorist azzhole.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Hipochracy_at_its_best.

      Nah! Fuc you!

      August 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Athy

      Fucking retarded child. May grow up in 20 years or so.

      August 24, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  5. SP

    Side Note: 'Throw himself on his shield'? Shouldn't that be 'sword'? Or maybe the confusion is that Akin is cowering behind his shield....

    August 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  6. Mormon Magical Underwear

    I wonder if Romney will use his magical underwear powers to help us with the economy.......after all he says it has magical powers lol Christians have a cross on a necklace,Mormons have magical skidmarked underwear lol......what sicko polygamists....

    August 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  7. ArthurP

    Abortions are primarily caused by unwanted pregnancies.
    Unwanted pregnancies are caused by the lack of readily available se.x education and contraceptives
    The lack of readily available se.x education and contraceptives is caused by religious beliefs

    So then that means that it is religious beliefs that are primary cause of abortions.

    Who knew?

    August 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  8. Non-Christians =/= True American

    Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you angry, stupid, brainwashed, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists are misguided and causes problem in our religious & public society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler (denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders who killed religious people because of their religious cult!
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most atheists are uneducated... No atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are atheists/agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    † † Our Prayers goes to atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †

    PS! the USA is a † nation and will always be. You know it's true and stop being ignorant and arrogant!
    (Take a look at our federal/state holidays, 99% of our presidents, blue laws in parts of the nation, name of some cities/counties/streets, the majority of people, some laws, calendar, culture, etc.)

    http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7/

    August 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • ArthurP

      @Non-Christians =/= True American:

      It is better to keep your fingers off the keyboard and be thought a fool than to apply them and remove all doubt.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Atheism is a religion that makes you stupid, ignorant & blind. -LIE
      Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated. -LIE
      Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet Atheists) -LIE
      Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle. -LIE
      Atheists causes problem in our religious society. -LIE
      Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith. -LIE
      Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise. -LIE
      Atheism making you agree with Stalin, Hitler (Denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders. -LIE
      No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider' -LIE
      Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime. -LIE
      Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet. -LIE
      Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people. -LIE
      Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved. -LIE
      Most Atheists are uneducated... No Atheists could run for presidency. -LIE
      Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history. -LIE
      Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists. -LIE
      All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals. -LIE
      The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20) -LIE
      Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism! -LIE

      It just goes to show that Christians can’t even follow one of the basic Ten Commandments by posting all these lies. What a hypocrite

      August 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • skarphace

      Non: it is kind of ironic that you now intend to vote for a Mormon rather than a Protestant, then isn't it?

      August 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Darwin10

      Ur an IDIOT!

      August 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • conoclast

      Ah, so now 'atheism is a religion'? And I bet you've already written your check to Akin eh, throwback?
      Remember, "god is love" - or doesn't that apply to your particular god, hmm?

      August 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Observer

      @just sayin,

      So you did find the list of mindess nonsense.

      Well done.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • aCriticalEye

      It's better to be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.
      You should run alomg home, your village is calling [idiot]

      And....before I get off my rant. The more the religious right pulls this kind of shiite, the more of an athiest I become.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • thinker

      this bomblastic set of statements is much more accurate if you subsitute "right-wing nut job" in place of atheist.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  9. conoclast

    Maybe Akin's hyper-"christian" base should start looking for a new place to call home - you know, like the Puritans did. What's more American than emigrating in order to escape religious persecution? So, rather than circling your wagons yet again in pathetic defense against the heathen hoards, consider this: a new colony where you can live your own "christian" version of sharia without outside interference. Guyana comes immediately to mind.

    August 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  10. Tom Adams

    I think this is great. The more people that know what the GOP really is the more likely they wont vote for them.

    August 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  11. A CHRISTIAN

    ROmney threw him under the bus because he has no alliance with conservative christians.Romney does not agree with the biblical teachings,he only worships the Book Of Mormon,which is not christian.Romney only uses christian conservatives for votes nothing else

    August 23, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Bman

      That's right when you get done throwing Romney under the bus we'll buy you a beer!

      August 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  12. Gezellig2

    “As for the GOP, it has no rational basis for deserting Akin when it has stood by moderate Republicans who've done worse,”

    For example?

    August 23, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  13. Nikki

    Romney is a sick man believing in a religion that hurts women and children.........

    August 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Obama believes that god sacrificed himself to himself to appease himself to cure people of an invisible disease (sin) in an invisible body part (soul) that got there because a woman who didn't know any better had a conversation with a talking snake.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  14. Sal

    Religion and politics are a bad mix! I wish we could get rid of both.........

    August 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  15. pbernasc

    "Bigotry is my Bible" .. sounds good as a new GOP motto

    August 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  16. Mormon Magical Underwear

    Step right up folks step right up! Romney is going to give out some campaign goodies! First you will recieve a FREE pair of MORMON MAGICAL UNDERWEAR that mormons believe protects you from evil!! Next you will recieve an autographed picture of Joesoph Smith who is the Mormons Founder and Messiah who is a child molester,conman,polygamist,and murderer. Next you recieve a Free BOOK OF MORMON,its the book Joesoph Smith wrote to control his followers. Then you recieve free directions to the planet in outer space named KOLOB,where Mormons believe their god lives,one day you become a god too and will fly their with your MAGICAL UNDERWEAR! Then you recieve sacred writings that explain how all darkskinned people are subhuman and evil!!! Folks Romney is a CULT BISHOP FOR THE MORMON MAGICAL SKIDMARKED UNDERWEAR CHURCH,we do not want him representing christians.Romney belongs in a PADDED room along with all the other crazies and child molesters........Romney is pathetic and hates christians,he only believes his Mormonism is the true word of god,everyone else is going to hell

    August 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Obama believes that god sacrificed himself to himself to appease himself to cure people of an invisible disease (sin) in an invisible body part (soul) that got there because a woman who didn't know any better had a conversation with a talking snake..

      August 23, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • skarphace

      Moby: exactly. Mormonism is NOT Christianity.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Agreed, Pacino, but I just want to point out to christians that their beliefs are every bit as mind-numbing stupid as the Mormon's beliefs.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • aCriticalEye

      Moby: It's the religious right that is our problem, NOT Mr Obama.
      Catholics = BAD ie Catholicism = BAD

      Remember that seperation of church and state thing mentioned somewhere in your long ago, that should apply to the here and now. The religious right...ie Catholicism has NO PLACE in our political system !

      August 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  17. mig

    Christan Christian Conservatives make the Taliban look like The Salvation Army.These people are pro-life?What kind of life?Living without the safety nets of unemployment benefits,healthcare,social security,cuts in education,libraries.All the things that made the last century a great time for America,and made us the best country on earth.The best joke for the last 12 straight years is"tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs". That policy and two wars was the beginning of this whole mess we are in right now. The trouble is we have short memories.Who got us into this mess?Make sure you remember and make sure you vote and get rid of this TeaParty bunch or we will be back in the middle ages!

    August 23, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • liberal christian

      Well put.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • aCriticalEye

      Exactly, well said !

      August 23, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  18. Teddy nyc

    The thought of a cultist in the whitehouse makes me cringe.Romney cannot be trusted,Mormons are well known for their rituals,abuse of women and children and POLYGAMY.Not to mention their magical underwear they claim have powers. Do they get the power from the underwear or the skidmark???? hmmmmI wonder if Romney would ever tell us the secrete. Mormons hate christians and I am suprised how they convinced so many christians to sell out their faith to back a cultist.........I will wait till next election to vote because I will not support a cult leader....

    August 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  19. KATHY minneapolis

    Well,well,well what are they going to do now? they are kinda stuck, they have 2 choices, "ADMIT THAT THIS IS HOW THEY TRULY FEEL, OR CONTINUE TO PRETEND THEY ARE OUTRAGED" oh my what to do, what to do.

    August 23, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • skarphace

      They will do the latter and hope this issue gets swept under the carpet. However, even if it does (which it probably won't), we will just focus on Romney's taxes again, so they lose either way.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  20. Rhonda Rahn

    We women are smart enough to make intelligent decisions!

    And the most intelligent decision of all is to not vote for Romney who is against women, and Ryan who is against senior citizens.

    August 23, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • KATHY minneapolis

      And what party you belong to ,doesn't even matter, this is where women whatever party have to unite and stand together,because whatever our political beleifs, we all beleive "OUR BODIES BELONG TO US" not a bunch of ego driven men.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • skarphace

      Well, enough women have to agree with you to override all the 'angry conservative men' who will vote for Romney no matter what. This is why the race is so close, not because of the women but because of the men.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • skarphace

      Kathy: I am sorry, but most Republicans would not agree with you at all. If you doubt me, just look at the House Republican vote the other day concerning the 'personhood' amendment which would make abortions illegal in every single case without exception. It took around 3 minutes to pass the House.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • aCriticalEye

      Ladies, we need a serious women's movement here, these monsters need to be stopped. Angry old rich white guys, think they know everything, they have the answers for everything, as long as it is in their best interest....THEIR INTERST.

      RobMe....WHERE ARE THE TAXES YOU LYING TAX CHEAT

      August 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
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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.