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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.

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“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. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Akin, please PLEASE stay in the race in MissourUH. Please continue to embarrass the Republican party, that is apparently shameless in running a FVKKING Moron who believes in magic underwear, non-existent planets, baptizing corpses and who hates black people unless they're playing on a sports team for Brigham Young! How low can you get, Republicans!? DOU-CHE!

    August 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • robert

      As this nut has demonstrated, there is no lower limit.

      August 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      ARGH! Can you not say anything worthwhile, RETARD?! Broken record!

      August 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      ...and yall have yet learned to ignore him or her. And, you wonder why they keep posting. Basic Reasoning... action and reaction.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Mark, I usually don't reply, but this piece of $h|+ won't go away EVER! It is useless to ignore. Might as well get a few jabs in.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Observer

      Mark From Middle River,

      @Atheism/just sayin/truth be told will keep spamming in hope that God will give her brownie points even though scared to answer questions.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Observer .... he or she is not scared to respond ... They are a troll, even though I agree with the statement, he or she desire is not to debate or exchange dialogue. Their desire is to rev Atheist up with a one line statement. Have yall post and post over and over the same arguments. While you guys are typing out distinctive post, wasting your energy thinking that he or she is actually reading your response. All the while they are posting the same thing on another thread.

      Try ignoring him or her. This is the Belief Blog and I doubt that anyone on the fence is actually in here at any measurable numbers so letting the prayer comments go without response does not really do anything.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  3. trex

    a Texas JUDGE....incites ARMED INSURRECTION against the DULY ELECTED OFFICALS OF OUR UNITED STATES of AMERICA. Now.......give me the DEFINITION OF...TREASON.................sure, you can put his pic there on the side.
    This just show how CRAZED the Ttards are that a BLACK MAN IS PRESIDENT, AND IS WINNING THE ELECTION..........................I am white, 60, never taken welfare or unemployment, and I WILL VOTE AGAIN FOR OBAMA............

    August 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  4. aCriticalEye

    As an independant, I'm voting a straight Democratic ticket ! F(*^*k the GOp
    In case any of you righties are posting, I'm a college educated Electrical Engineer, and I will never ever again vote GOP.
    I hang my head in shame that I voted GOp once upon a time...[forehead on table]

    August 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  5. Sheri Lee

    These Conservative Christians need to move to Iran. There they will have the government of religion that they want. NO liberal communist will deny them from praying or treating women like Dogs. I am SICK of them they are giving the real christians a bad name. God will punish them for spining the very words and deeds his son taught us all. Sadly though I believe our country is being punished now for their actions.

    August 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • skarphace

      Why would they move to Iran when they have just succeeded in taking over one of the main two parties in America, have taken over the Judicial Branch and one arm of the Legislative Branch, and have a shot at taking over the other Legislative Branch as well as the Executive Branch.

      They are quite close to gaining complete control over our entire political system. Trust me, they are going nowhere fast.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  6. robert

    I think what we are seeing here is the death of a united Republican Party. From the ashes I suspect we will see two new parties, one fiscally conservative and the other socially conservative. The religious nuts in the US are only becoming nuttier whereas the decline of religion will certainly result in people who do not associate themself themself with radical religion but do believe in conservative economic policy. The tea party faithly will likely split within the next dozen years.

    August 23, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • skarphace

      I disagree. The death of what we once knew as the Republican Party started with the 2010 elections and has continued. They are shedding their old guard, calling them RINOs. They are replacing them with Christian Conservatives, who are working for a social agenda instead of a fiscal one.

      If anything, the Republican Party is more united than ever.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • rev101

      Can't the states just rootout the wingnuts that make the party bad? Like it's doing to Palin, Akin, Perry, Huck, ...

      August 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • robert

      @skarphace, I don't know. It seems that the more rational voice (if I can say that without laughing) of the republican party has been drowned out by the tea part. I think the drinkmansship over the budget was tea party driven. And as this crisis shows the party faithful are forming two lines; those who agree with this nut and those who agree but are sensible enough not to say so in public. I guess we will see what happens after this election but I can only guess that this issue has just handed a few votes to Obama.

      August 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  7. trex

    ......Akin, that TREASONOUS Judge Head in Texas.......Zimmeran the KILLER of an unarmed kid...............ALL SUPPORTED BY THE CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANS........Next thing you'll say is these "CHRSITIANS"......would support a MORMON for POTUS..................

    August 23, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • trex

      ............O Lord............please help these misguided people realize they are being DUPED, an that End Days there will b e MANY FALSE PROPHETS............and these people FIT THE B ILL..................

      August 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  8. huhb

    Any chance to hold ignorance up as their gold standard, I guess.

    August 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  9. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Just think what women must be thinking when.....

    This man who is jamming his schlong into me against my will is....yes.....LEGITIMATELY R@PING me! Oh, oh! Time to clamp down really hard so I won't have babies! And Jeebus as my witness, I won't even get STD's from this transaction since I know this is LEGITIMATE and since I am now clamping down really hard to prevent anything bad from happening! Praise George W. Bush and Jeezus! I'm SAVED!

    August 23, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • skarphace

      That is exaclty what the Republicans want you to focus on: his claim about a woman's biology. The last thing they want you focussing on is their efforts to pass the 'personhood' amendment that would make abortions illegal in all cases without exception, which is the exact agenda that Akin was trying to defend.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  10. 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.......Romney is a sick sick man,people need to know what his mormon religion stands for and the abuse of women and children is one of their biggest offences. I guess this is typical for a cultist to not have moral values. Sorry no vote for you Romney ...or your anti christian cult......

    August 23, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  11. mike

    I used to be a Republican. But since the Bush era, the GOP has been espousing these crazy social conservative policies which seek to eliminate freedom and which intrude into personal lives. I don't want that for my children and grand-children. I will never vote Republican as long as they are socially conservative. And by the way, I am a born-again christian, but, like Jesus, I believe to leave government unto man, and give unto God what is God's, meaning we each make our own choice, we don't have religious rules forced on us by the government.

    August 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • allens

      well said. it's o.k. for government to intrude in the citizens rights if it is the governments approved religion. they call obama a socialist? they are religious zelots much like the iranian government has. very scary. we have someone like that running for ca state government, craig huey. he borders on crazy and may just get elected.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  12. mig

    Mormons believe in "more"! More for us,less for you.

    August 23, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • skarphace

      Well, sort of. They believe in a hierarchical system where those who are higher up in the power system will get more benefits this life and the next. In their eyes, Romney deserves his many millions because of his faith, and the faith of his parents, and them because of their faith and their parents. After he dies, Romney expects to become a God himself and to be given a planet to rule over. This is the reward for strong faith as a Muslim.

      August 23, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • skarphace

      *Mormon.

      Damit. This blog needs an edit button. x_x

      August 23, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  13. Kane

    Push out these extreme social conservatives! They're crazy, and I'll never vote for a Republican party that pushes their agenda.

    August 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • skarphace

      Sorry, but those 'extremists' are the Republican Party now. If anyone gets pushed out, it is the old guard, not the Tea Party. They are embedded to stay.

      August 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  14. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Aw hell, Akin was right, man! Of course women's bodies just KNOW how to close up shop when they don't want to have babies! Every Republikkkan knows that. $h|+! Ask Ann Coulter!

    August 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  15. SDFrankie

    He needs to throw himself on his shield? Really? You can't even master a simple cliche?

    August 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Of course he wanted to say throw himself on his sword, but that would be suicide and it's not pc in bible school to tell someone to go kill themselves.

      So I think he mixed his metaphor with throw down his shield.

      August 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  16. kenstanek

    You do a disservice to journalism by not laughing these people into irrelevance, CNN. There's no place for rational discourse when blatant disregard for biology & truth is canon. Please stop giving people like these a mouthpiece, without completely shaming them. They deserve shame. It's no discredit to your "news" agency to do that.

    August 23, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  17. web

    You mean crazy psycho Christians rally around Akin.

    August 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Gino

      Thye'd rally around a serial rapist if he was running on the GOP ticket.

      August 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  18. Juliemac

    Phew.Seems like the party has sunk to a new low.....
    Theocracy anyone?

    August 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Yep, and they're the ones who decry Middle East Islamocracies the loudest!

      August 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  19. mike

    Religion is a mental disease manifest out of laziness. It is far easier to bury one's head in the ground and attribute everything to a god than it is to take responsibility and initiative. Those afflicted with Religion try to stop progress of all kind. Those with the mental disease of religion are compelled to infect others, and those who will not share their beliefs are subject to violence, including torture and death. Christians and Muslims are the same, they are both dangerous violent cultists with psychopathic behaviors.

    August 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  20. warren

    It puzzles me to see some christians here that are repub so willing to sell out their faith to a Mormon cult. Mormons are not christians.I am a repub and will sit this election out,this is a lession the gop has to learn so next time they do not have a cultist as our candidate..........so I will wait till 2016 to get a honest christian candidate not a fake man,fake christian like Romney.

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

      Ah. An honest christian. It'll be a long wait, dude. Thanks for playing, though!

      August 23, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • skarphace

      sam: I like your sense of humor. You crack me up.

      August 23, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • God / Allah / Yahweh / Great Pumpkin / Lord Bubba

      All religions are cults.Mormons are as "christian" as any other "Christian" cult. They say they believe in the JayZuzz. They just may be somewhat weirder than others.

      August 23, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • skarphace

      God/Allah: Mormons believe that Jesus existed, that is true. They believe that he was a great man and a great prophet, that is also true. They believe he is A son of God, that is also true.

      What they do not believe is that Jesus is the one and only true son of God. This is why they are in no way Christian, any more than a Jew or a Muslim is a Christian. All believe that Jesus existed. Only Christians believe in the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Without belief in the Trinity, you are not Christian no matter how you spin it.

      August 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I don't think that mormons are "christian" in the classical sense, but really, what is a christian? Isn't it anyone who claims to be one? I mean, if you claim to be a christian, you must be one since there is no test you can perform to tell if someone is really a christian or not. It's not like christians have some ability that nonchristians don't. And it can't be up to somebody else's definition if there's no legitimate litmus test.

      August 23, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • skarphace

      Moby: wrong. If you do not believe that Jesus is the way to salvation and that he is the one and only son of God, then you are not a Christian as that is the very basis of their religion. It would be like saying you are Jewish and then practicing voodoo. It just wouldn't work.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The point, skarphace, is that there's no way to tell if someone's a christian or not. NONE. So if someone says that they are, they must be. It's not like anybody has a holey goast detektor 4000 lying around. Deal with it.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • skarphace

      Moby: there is actually a really easy way to tell. If they say they are of some other religion than Christianity or if they say they are an athiest, then they are not Christian. As Romney claims he is a Mormon, and as Mormons clearly are not Christians by any definition of Christianity, then he is not a Christian.

      If someone claims that they are Christian, and not some other religion, then I tend to believe them. However, they would not be Mormon.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:22 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.