- (Reuters/Joel Page)
For Ron Paul, it's not that he lacks conservative beliefs, but rather his personal brand of conservatism that turns some voters off. But should evangelicals take another look at the Texas congressman's bid for the White House?
Two pastors have recently made the case for why evangelicals should take another look at Paul, and in the process, addressed reasons that might be hindering Christians from backing the libertarian politician.
Dr. Jim Linzey, a retired Army National Guard chaplain and evangelical supporter of Paul, noted that Paul doesn't tend to talk much about his faith while campaigning.
"I don't think Ron Paul wears his religion on his sleeve and I think that is a good thing," Linzey told The Christian Post. "My reason for supporting Ron Paul is irrespective of his evangelical beliefs as a Southern Baptist, but solely based on principle, in that he seeks to base every approach to problem solving and decision making on the Constitution."
Linzey continued, "Since the Constitution is based on the Bible, then it would behoove me as an evangelical to support the candidate whose political philosophy most closely lines up with the Constitution," said Linzey.
And earlier in January, Voddie Baucham, pastor of Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, wrote in a blog post about his support for Paul. He explains that he is supporting his state's representative for three main reasons: Paul is a Christian conservative, a Constitutional conservative and a consistent conservative.
"While I am not looking for a 'pastor-in-chief,' it is important to me that the man for whom I cast my vote be a Christian, if at all possible," writes Baucham in his Jan. 16 blog post. "My desire is not to see a president who will usurp the authority, responsibilities, or privileges of the Church. However, I do not wish to see those things hindered either."
"I also want to know that the foundational ideology motivating a man's decisions is biblical. I know it will not always mirror my own, but I trust God's word, and appreciate those who look to it for aid in making decisions. To that end, I support Dr. Paul because he is not just a conservative, but a Christian conservative," Baucham concluded.
And similarly to Linzey, Baucham noted that Paul "does not beat his Christian faith like a drum in his public/political life."
"Unfortunately, that is off-putting for the 'Christian Right,'" remarked Baucham. "However, in a world full of 'posturing' in an effort to win over evangelicals, I find Paul's public demeanor refreshing. And it is not as though he is a 'closet Christian,' either."
Social conservatives have gone through a litany of candidates since mid-summer of 2011. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have all seen their stock rise and fall among the influential voting bloc.
Currently, social conservatives seem to be wavering between former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. With the exception of a small group called "Evangelicals for Mitt," the former Massachusetts governor doesn't attract a significant portion of the evangelical vote.
In the latest Gallup tracking poll, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was leading Romney 32 to 26 percent, respectively. Santorum and Paul were tied with 13 percent each, which may be the best indication yet that social conservatives may indeed be looking at Paul once more.
"The reason why many evangelicals do not support Ron Paul is simply that they are uninformed as to the other candidates' unconstitutional or even socialistic record on some issues, and have not listened to Ron Paul," Linzey offered as explantion. "Furthermore, like sheep, they follow the crowd, such as the group of 150 evangelical leaders who steered them toward a 'moderate' candidate, which some might call an unconstitutional contender."
The Florida GOP primary will take place this coming Tuesday, then the four candidates will head to Nevada for the state's caucuses on Saturday, Feb. 4.