The Internal Revenue Service has cleared Focus on the Family chair James Dobson after an investigation into charges that he had violated IRS rules by endorsing President Bush and other Republicans in the 2004 elections.
Dobson hailed the IRS conclusion in a broadcast on his syndicated radio program September 10 and read from documents he received from the agency.
In this election year, surveys reveal what many call the “religion gap” facing the Democratic Party. The most frequent churchgoers have been voting Republican in recent presidential contests. However, that doesn’t make incumbent President George W. Bush a shoo-in, since the larger statistical picture of religious voters is as complex as America’s spiritual landscape.
General Wesley Clark says he is a Methodist turned Baptist turned Catholic who attends a Presbyterian church. Congressman Richard Gephardt says his religion is “to care about the poor first.” Howard Dean, who has criticized the mixing of religion and politics, now promises to talk about Jesus when he campaigns in the South.
Although mainline Protestants have traditionally voted Republican and their declining numbers have supposedly reduced their impact on elections, a political scientist who has studied church influence in politics says that mainliners will be important “swing voters” in the 2004 national elections.
The result was hardly a surprise, noted Salam Al-Marayati, director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. A 2004 presidential straw poll conducted at MPAC’s annual convention showed President George W. Bush trailing four Democratic contenders, led by Howard Dean, largely because of the former Vermont governor’s staunch criticism of the war in Iraq.
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