Liberal Christian group kicks off new swing-state voter campaign

The liberal-leaning Christian group Faithful America is launching a new project focused on chipping away at President Donald Trump’s support among religious voters in three swing states.

The group’s anti-Trump effort is projected to spend $65,000—a fraction of the $50 million get-out-the-vote effort an­nounced last year by the conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition. But the project could have an outsized impact in the states of Florida, Michigan, and Penn­sylvania, and it is the latest sign of progressive Christian groups engaging more actively in the presidential race.

Vote Common Good, another liberal-leaning Christian group, held socially distanced outdoor rallies in September, while Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice unveiled a website designed to mobilize “Pope Francis voters” against Trump.

Nathan Empsall, campaigns director for Faithful America and an Episcopal priest, said he hopes the group’s work this fall can help liberal Christians be more vocal about the connection between their religious beliefs and their stances on key issues.

“We have to put our values into action,” Empsall said in an interview. “And I think progressive Christians always have, but we haven’t always been great about talking about where those values come from.”

The group’s new swing-state effort involves hiring four new organizers and making a goal to spark at least 11,000 new faith-based conversations with voters. Its work will use “relational organizing,” an emerging approach to political network building that relies on personal relationships to help motivate people to get engaged on issues and to vote.

Empsall noted that while Trump’s foothold with White evangelical voters is often discussed, mainline Protestants and Catholics who might have leaned toward the president in 2016 are valuable in terms of swing-state outreach. Those Christian voters, he said, have people in their orbit who backed Trump “while holding their nose, and can probably be moved by having faith conversations and sharing personal stories.”—Associated Press

Elana Schor

Elana Schor reports on religion and politics for the Associated Press.

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