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.
The hypocrasy knows no bounds.
I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in "A," "B," "C" and "D." Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?
And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism." Barry Goldwater
Akin is a $^&%ing idiot. This guy is finished and I'm glad of it. I don't know of anyone standing with this putz.
"Conservative Christians rally around Akin in face of GOP criticism"
....all 28 of them?
The Religious Right that think it is the heart & soul of the Republican. They have become intolerant of almost everyone that does not view the world the way they do. How do I know I was one of them, but when started to question their point of view, I was railroad right out of the church.
I and my wife are still christian's and conservatives, but neither of us can support the intolerance that this group come to support.
So, Mr. Akin, though, I agree with your right to have an opinion, it is not mine and I have the right to strongly disagree with it.
You have taken responsibility for you comments which I accept and respect. Your evangelical activist friends need to remember that when they have had the situation reversed, they have pounced with the same viciousness, if not worse. That is what wrong this group conservative and the religious right.
There no tolerance for each otherss point of view or compromise.
This is "why" is independent conservative does not feel that this group of Republicans is fit to govern.
I agree with most of your point but please dont lump all conservative christians together. I am one
"please dont lump all conservative christians together. I am one" Did it hurt when you signed your name in blood? Will the Devil get your firstborn son? Do they provide the sheets for cross-burnings or do you have to bring your own?
I think this highlights the real problem with the republican party. They are white, male religious fanatics. They try to make themselves look more main stream by claiming they are about fiscal responsibility but that is a smoke screen as their record demonstrates. What they are about is the same thing any theocracy is about, enforcing a religious world view on the population. They are the american taliban. The dark ages are what they have to offer.
The Party Of God hypocrites are rallying behind their lead bigot and Christian-Sharia proponent.
Believe it or not, the clueless Republican Todd Akin is on the United States House Committee on SCIENCE, Space and Technology.
That is not hard to believe because the republican position on science is that it needs to be silenced and subverted. Who other than a religious zealot would be best for that position?
Square peg in a round hole? Aw, what does it matter? Congress members don't even read what they vote for. Why should they be required to know anything to serve on a committee?
Mr. Akin, just what the h&LL is an ILLEGITIMATE R@PE if there is such a thing as LEGITIMATE R@PE?!
If you misspoke when you said that, then how many times did you misVOTE on issues for which your consti-tuents trusted you to make the right decisions?
Very good point.
If the girl was asking for it, meaning she was young and cute and away from her male relatives or owners, it's not considered legitimate. If someone who is mentally unstable attacks an unattractive or older woman, that would be punished, but not the other. Because hey, who hasn't attacked a pretty girl?
No matter how you may feel about any other issue, this is a fact: the next time we have a Republican president and a Republican majority in the house and senate, ALL abortions and some forms of contraception WILL be outlawed.
Truer words have not been spoken.
Then they'll start working on banning contraception.
My goodness you're stupid. Do you remember how effectively the Republicans blocked the Democrats from taking over when they had both houses and the presidentcy? You think the Democrats won't return the favor?
Random, and the Gays and Lesbians thought that when they got a Democrat in the White house and control of both houses of Congress they would finally get a Federal law for equal rights and same gender marriage.
Oba had that for two years and they failed to get their hopes.
Try this, Democrat or Republican.... it does not really matter....both sides will tell the public what they feel they want to hear.
Mark From Middle River,
If you are supposedly independent, why do you have no respect for the office of the President of the United States and the name of the current one?
Observer. I want to boldly say that I have no respect for any of them but the deals and the broken promises by both sides are wearing on me. I am not an Independent, I am a Republican who feels that he is to the Right of Colin Powell but inching closer and closer each day to his type of Republicanism.
I guess the biggest thing that has me lacking respect is the crazy amount of money that is being spent by both parties for this office. Millions and Millions of dollars given but I feel most would have to really soul search if a Girl Scout came to their door selling cookies.
How sweet it is!!!!!!
Every Presidential and VP candidate as well as anyone else with even the slightest bit of intelligence agree that Akin is a complete buffoon and should just withdraw completely from society, so why is CNN even covering this? Because it's the economy stupid and that's the last thing CNN aka Democrat supporters want to talk about. Lets talk about Obama wanting to raise taxes in the middle of the worst economic recession is 75 years!
Yes, because each election season we are only allowed to talk about one issue. Thanks for laying out the rules for everybody. Meanwhile, the rest of us will continue to be concerned about a presidential candidate who is attempting to control womens' bodies.
Failure. Trying to change subjects fools no one but yourself.
If you want to talk economics, go to a CNN economics blog.
Better luck next time.
Seems like eveytime the GOP try, one of their own either say's something "STUPID" or "GET'S CAUGHT IN A LIE" and that's cnn's fault
The story is there because a significat portion of GOP voters support that "complete baffoon". Doesn't that scare you?
I'm hoping that the antichrist was aborted. That would be cool.
If you listen to the republicans, not only has the atichrist already been born but he's also been elected president.
Nice slanted reporting CNN. Virtually every Republican from Romney to Ryan to Christie on down has not only called the idiot's comments repulsive and offensive but they have also said he should withdraw from his campaign bid immediately. Some have also suggested he should just withdraw from public as well because he's a moron.
.. but they were also the same people who tried to pass laws that supported akin's outlook.. says that those politicians condemning the man today are nothing more than opportunists and snake oil salesmen..
I agree with Snow, their actions speak louder than their words, and in deed they are right there with Akin.
Honestly, I think the only reason they all threw him under the bus is because, he let one of their(GOP) twisted secrets out.Him been a bad,bad boy!!!!!
truth be told:
Your religion is so full of $h|+, your "god" can't even take a little joke. Look what "he" did to a bunch of kids in the OT:
2 Kings 2:23-24
23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. "Go on up, you baldhead!" 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.
HELLO, TRUTH BE TOLD? No pre-programmed response? Nothing to say about your phony "god" and "his" lack of humor? What an idiot!
tbt cherrypicks, like all christians. They make it a point to wholeheartedly ignore the nastier bits of their book, since it's really hard to imagine a perfectly moral being that loves smiting as much as their god does.
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............and HILLARY in 2016.
Obviously Richard Land wants Akin to stay in the race. Rather then doing as a good Roman would do, and fall on his sword; he would like Akin to fall on his shield. Talk about screwing up with an idiom.
Truth always annoys liars.
That is a lie.
Told ya so.
I am sorry. Did my response annoy you?
Awesome exchange – made me laugh out loud.
@skarphace & tbt
LOL !!! :D
Prayer changes things . .
The Troll is back and there's gonna be trouble...
It does not take long for an atheist wanna be to degenerate into vulgarity.
An 'athiest wanna be'? You either believe or you don't believe. Wanting has nothing to do with it.
To be an atheist is an impossibility, you can lie yourself into a state but you cannot make Truth go away.
lol. The Bible shows how God nearly killed EVERY living thing.
truth be told: Your last post was utterly meaningless.
Gods judgement is just and fair. Those executed for their sins should serve as an example to those sinning today.
truth be told,
The Bible says that God destroyed all but 2 (or 7) of ALL LAND ANIMALS.
What was their sin?
LOL. Truth hurts.
truth: you are correct. We should learn from our mistakes. For example, we should learn from the Salem Witch burnings what happens when we let religion take over our political system.
And of course all those INNOCENT animals who allegedly got executed in the alleged "great flood" sinned how?
You brought it up ... how?
well truth be told, you seem to follow your god out of fear and not the love you preach.. fear that you would be executed if you don't do what your god asks of you.. now thats gotta be wrong in some way..
That is what happens when false religion takes over.
God has not given us a spirit of fear. There is no fear in knowing the wages of sin is death. The motivation of God is love and eternal life. Justice is the completion of fair.
Why was God so CRUEL to other living things when he tried to drown everyone in the Flood?
The judge is not cruel when He hands down a sentence, merely just.
@truth be told
Might makes right is okay with you. Got it.
truth be told has nothing but preprogrammed "answers" and this questions stumps it. It does not know why its "god" was so ill-mannered toward the rest of its allegedly-beloved alleged-creation when it was allegedly only man who allegedly "sinned".
well truth be told, the difference between you and an average atheist is.. if god takes a break for an hour from watching/hearing thoughts of every living thing every second of every day, atheist will remain the same.. while you would go bat sh.t crazy with sin.. since there is no one to serve the justice..
Makes you less of a human than any, dude.. sad!
No justice makes right. Please do not try to think for me you are not that good at it.
Don't be fooled justice still awaits everyone, it is deferred until Christ returns. In the meantime it is appointed once to die then the judgement.
don't need to "think" hard about you dude.. you are proving yourself well enough through your comments.. the kind of man you are..
Err...gee haven't you heard reports of people who have been clinically dead and then revived? I'd say it is not necessarily appointed to die once.
Basic crime (sin) and punishment (execution). Not rocket science but you all sure are having a problem with it. Justice is impartial, no hate, no cruelty, no remorse. There is an element of sadness and loss to see the lawbreakers (sinners) executed for their crimes because Gods pardon is so readily available, but as every criminal knows crime doesn't pay.
Clinically dead is not really dead then .
Of course you'd say that since that's all you can say! It's as DEAD as we know it.
Still no answer about the INNOCENT animals who were heinously slaughtered in the alleged "great flood"? What did they do to P|$$ off your "god"?
You didn't answer the question at all. Why did God kill nearly all non-human life?
crime and punishment are neither basic nor easy.. otherwise there wouldnt be a need to write a library full of law books..
see you are the kind of person who would hang a robin hood for his thievery but conveniently forget how his help save hundreds/thousands. Like I said, your comments show the kind of person you are.. try not to make a bigger fool of yourself, please.
Duh... Crimes (sins) led to Punishment (execution) Have you ever heard of justice? If you do wrong you get punished for it.Is this concept too difficult for you?
Get real. God and Robin Hood are not the same – if Robin Hood could snap his fingers and provide for the poor do you think he's steal? God is supposedly omnipotent – he can do whatever he wants, according to your mythology. So explain why it was necessary to slaughter innocents.
Is English a second language for you?
So what did nearly all non-human living things do to require PUNISHMENT?
Animals are neither guilty or innocent. They (animals) are not people. Think mutations.
Why are you still COMPLETELY STUMPED after all this time?
Continuous evil to the level that every thought was evil. Sins = murder, theft, ra pe, ho mo se xuality... etc. were rampant on the face of the earth as well as spiritual mutations, and all sorts of abominations. Read the passage it is all explained in detail in the book of Genesis in the Bible.
Justice is not cruel.
I cannot help your stupidity, even a child knows there is a penalty for bad behavior.
So you give up. Pitiful. Zero answer. Not one word from you about the animals and plants destroyed. If you can tell me what their sin was, you will BEGIN to have a tiny bit of CREDIBILITY. Pathetic.
In order to assert that I have sinned you must first demonstrate that there is a god to sin against.
yep.. death by execution as punishment for every sin.. so, according to you, if a man lies, death.. if he steals, death.. if a man covets what others have, off with their head.. if a man commits adultery, run him through a sword.. etc.. etc.. do you want me to continue giving you examples of how stupendously idiotic your argument is? geez..
@truth be told Animals are neither guilty or innocent. They (animals) are not people.
Ok let's get honest. It's because animals have no souls and are no different from rocks, to god.
How can you say animals have no souls? What IS a "soul" anyway?
Is a "soul" different from a "spirit"? Native Americans (at least) would strongly disagree with you on that matter. Animals most definitely have spirits.
I think it is time the reasonable, intelligent, common sense Republican and Democratic politicians that care about the US and all of it's people break off and start a new party. They can leave the far left and far right nut jobs to the parties they are destroying along with the country. The extremists don't care about the US or the people just the irrational ideologies they believe are black and white while compassion and responsibility are lost.
The DC Machine (whoever they are) will never allow a third party to even legitimately run for president (since they have full control over all major media outlets and thus prevent any third party candidates from getting any media attention or getting into a DC-sanctioned presidential debate). NOPE, folks. It's a binary world! Left or right! Black or white! You're with us or against us! Choose one or the other since there are only two! Never mind what your conscience tells you about infinite shades of gray!
It is way, way, way beyond time. However, I agree with G. Zues. It will not happen in our lifetime.
The two party system is a joke! Instead of the individual running on their own merits, beliefs, and policies they simply label them selves DEM or GOP thus giving their real views cover to hide behind and dividing the nation between extremist views… I lean slightly to the liberal side because I fear those rooted in the GOP that would impose a theocracy upon the American people more then I fear the people that want to give us government provided healthcare.
Questions401: I believe you and I are of the same mind.
Amen. It's looking more and more like we need to scrap political parties.
O, What a miserable shape this country is in!
Nope, there will be no third party! Just same old two dead beat parties we've got now!
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.