The conservative Evangelical biographer of George W. Bush and Tom DeLay has moved on to a new subject: Barack Obama. And his new book, due out this summer, may lend credibility to Senator Obama's bid to win Evangelical Christian voters away from the Republican Party.
The forthcoming volume from Stephen Mansfield, whose sympathetic "The Faith of George W. Bush" spent 15 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 2004, is titled "The Faith of Barack Obama." Its tone ranges from gently critical to gushing, and the author defends Obama-and even his controversial former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright-from conservative critics, and portrays him as a compelling figure for Christian voters.
"Young Evangelicals are saying, 'Look, I'm pro-life but I'm looking at a guy who's first of all black-and they love that; two, who's a Christian; and three who believes faith should bear on public policy," Mansfield, who described himself as a conservative Republican, said in a telephone interview. "They disagree with him on abortion, but they agree with him on poverty, on the war."
His book, provided exclusively to Politico by the publisher, focuses more on Obama's religious journey than his electoral prospects.
"For Obama, faith is not simply political garb, something a focus group told him he ought to try. Instead, religion to him is transforming, lifelong, and real," Mansfield writes, going on to compare Obama favorably to Christian Democratic presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, who he says erected a "wall of separation" between their religion and their governance.
By contrast, "Obama's faith infuses his public policy, so that his faith is not just limited to the personal realms of his life, it also informs his leadership," Mansfield writes.
The book is published by Thomas Nelson, the world's largest Christian publisher. It's due out August 5. "The Faith of Barack Obama" is expected to retail in Christian outlets and the Wal-Mart chain of stores, as well as secular bookstores. A motivational speaker and former pastor, Mansfield is the author of several books on faith as well as the co-author of former House Republican powerhouse Tom DeLay's 2007 book "No Retreat, No Surrender," a defense of his tarnished legacy sprinkled with fierce attacks on his opponents and on liberal causes.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Obama and Evangelicals
Following up on my previous post, the Politico has this story: