Obama to Woo Young Evangelicals, Catholics

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By Jennifer Riley, Christian Post Reporter
June 11, 2008|8:27 am

Barack Obama will soon unveil his new plan to woo young evangelicals and Catholics in hopes of turning them into Obama voters this November.

The “Joshua Generation Project” - a name based on the biblical story of Joshua and his generation, which led the Israelites into the Promised Land – aims to reach out to young people of faith on moral issues such as poverty, Darfur, climate change, and the Iraq war, according to Christian Broadcasting Network’s The Brody File.

“There's unprecedented energy and excitement for Obama among young evangelicals and Catholics,” said a source close to the Obama campaign to CBN’s David Brody on Friday. “The Joshua Generation project will tap into that excitement and provide young people of faith opportunities to stand up for their values and move the campaign forward.'"

The campaign acknowledges that some young faith voters will automatically rule out Obama because of his pro-abortion rights stance, but it hopes others will come aboard when they hear about other values which they see “eye to eye” with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

"Whatever you think of the 'Joshua Generation Project,' you have to give the campaign their due because they are making concerted efforts to NOT ignore faith voters,” Brody commented. “In my reporting, I can tell you this is not a contrived effort. The folks behind this believe in not only the mission of winning over faith voters to Obama but the larger mission of not ignoring faith voters when it comes to politics."

According to a new survey out Monday, Obama is leading presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain among several Protestant sectors. Obama garnered 44 percent to McCain’s 36 percent among modernist evangelicals, according to the survey on religion and politics by Calvin College.

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And Obama leads by more than 10 percent among centrists and modernist mainline Protestants compared to McCain. He also leads by a landslide among African American Protestants – 83 percent to 9 percent.

But Obama’s effort to reach out to young Christians is hitting a road bump as he faces possible legal trouble with the project’s name. Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is threatening to sue Obama for trademark infringement since its “Generation Joshua” group was established in 2003, according to ABC News.

The HSLDA’s “Generation Joshua” works with Christian youth between the ages of 11 and 19 who want to be active in the civic and political arenas, said the group’s Web site.

“This is an improper invasion of our trademark and we've retained legal counsel to notify the Obama campaign to stop this,” HSLDA’s co-founder, chairman, and general counsel, Michael Farris, told Washington-based Roll Call newspaper on Monday.

Farris also wrote a 2005 book called, “The Joshua Generation: Restoring the Heritage of Christian Leadership.”

Prior to the legal dispute, the Obama campaign said it planned to launch the program within two weeks.

 

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