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Is Howard Dean's Sudden Religiousity Sincere or Politically Motivated?
by J. Grant Swank, Jr., Pastor
28 December 2003

Howard Dean may garner the votes of the Unitarian-Universalists and the Jesse Jacksons of the world, but he will never get the votes of sincere Catholics, Evangelicals, and other Christian denominations that actually adhere to the Bible.

With US President George W. Bush, along with wife, Laura, openly testifying to their evangelical Christian faith, Howard Dean must have concluded it’s time to give religion a go. Therefore, according to FoxNews, Dean is coming through with his own Amen Corner.

However, no matter what Dean says about his religious faith, it will never square with those biblically in the know, particularly devout Catholics and evangelical Protestants. Never. Why? Because his political causes such as pro-choice and pro-practicing homosexual lifestyles are anti-Scripture.

Therefore, if anything, Dean will garner the votes of the theologically liberal, such as the Unitarian-Universalist Society. But he won’t gather any votes from the fundamentalists nor evangelicals, let alone those Catholics who adhere to traditional Catholic morality.

With that, Dean will cast himself either as a totally sincere theological liberal or a mock-up touting religion for political opportunism.

Now Dean is particularly focusing on the south for votes. All the more, the south is overrun with evangelicals, for example those of the Baptist persuasion. The Southern Baptist layperson and clergy can spot a theological liberal several miles away. And when they do, Dean’s not in their hallelujah camp. Not at all. He’d not make it to the back pew. Therefore, if Dean is going to start his Amen Corner by courting the southern churchgoer, he’d better switch over to pro-life and anti-homosexual lifestyle in one hurry kick.

Dean presently is a member of a congregational church while his wife and children are Jewish. He once belonged to the Episcopal Church but pulled out of the local congregation in Vermont over a disagreement regarding a bike path.

"Howard Dean can never get it straight," said Steve Murphy, campaign manager for Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt. "I mean, first, he said that, you know, that southerners shouldn't vote on guns, God and gays, and now he says he's going to use religion more. First, he said, you know, that he was going to be the candidate of people with confederate flag decals, and then he apologized for that. You never know what Howard Dean is going to say. If you don't like it, just wait a little while, he'll change it."

So expect Dean to be pro-life on Monday, pro-choice on Tuesday, pro-gay on Wednesday, and anti-openly gay on Thursday. Well, not really. Dean cannot make that kind of end of one spectrum to another without falling flat on his theological face.

But he might try. After all, one never knows about Howard Dean.

Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., is the Pastor of New Hope Church in Windham, ME. He is a a graduate of an accredited college (BA) and seminary (M Div) with graduate work at Harvard Divinity School. Pastor Swank has been married for 41 years and he has 3 adult children. He is the author of 5 books and over 2000 articles in various Protestant and Catholic magazines, journals and newspapers. He writes a weekly religion column for PORTLAND PRESS HERALD newspaper, Portland ME. His columns have appeared on IntellectualConservative.com, MichNews.com, BushCountry.org, Chalcedon.com, ConservativeTruth.com, TheAbsurdReport.com, Israel Action Coalition, WoundedShepherds.com, among others.

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