Will religious voters impact the outcome of Tuesday’s elections?

03/01/2014 12:00 AM

02/28/2014 6:57 PM

By now just about all of us have had it with robocalls, sound bites and fabricated claims in an avalanche of mailers from candidates seeking our favor.

Your own studied evaluation of contenders is a much better approach to making the decisions we face.

A great deal of the discussion on Facebook and Twitter has been about concerns that religious people and organizations are making endorsements.

For example, there are some interesting reactions to an announcement that one particular organization has again mailed a “green card” to Tarrant County voters recommending candidates they would like to see elected.

The entity has been called the “religious right” by some. Their actual name is the DFW Conservative Voters. They have been active in local elections for 15 or so years.

I called the principal parties who run the entity and asked them if they accept the designation of being the religious right. If they had said “yes,” I was going to ask them what that meant.

Instead, they said “no” and went on to say that such a label was deliberately assigned to them as a derogatory characterization and designed as some sort of warning to voters.

The organization describes itself as supporting candidates who share a commitment to traditional family values, low taxes and limited government.

That doesn’t sound like a threatening initiative from something called the religious right.

In other discussion, there has been a lot of other back and forth about something Pope Francis said, and another whole debate over the role of a couple of Methodist factions, and other references to the “Christian right” — although I haven’t seen anything about a Christian left.

And that’s the interesting thing about these social media alerts. The warnings only seem to show up when the candidate connected to them is a conservative.

Just a couple of weeks ago Sen. Wendy Davis held a press conference where she was extolled, according to a writer for the Austin American Statesman, with a prayer delivered by Democrat Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks.

Roy praised Wendy as “certainly a gift from You (God)” and asked him to turn Davis’ “stylish dress into body armor so that she can do battle against the nemesis forces which currently rule this state.”

Here’s what President Obama said just two years into his first term: “And let me tell you, these past two years, they have deepened my faith. The presidency has a funny way of making a person feel the need to pray. Abe Lincoln said, as many of you know, ‘I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.’ ”

A few days ago he thanked organized supporters of Obamacare for doing “God’s work.”

Nope, I haven’t seen even a single warning that we should be aware that Davis or Obama have injected religion into their conversation, campaign or service.

Quite a double standard, don’t you think?

Apparently, we are to be concerned only when the religious reference is connected to a conservative. It would seem to be OK to ask God to help fight “nemesis forces” if such forces are Republicans.

Whether candidates expressing their faith are Democrats or Republicans I’m going to assert, as I have before, they are of no threat to our system of government. They actually are champions of a country founded “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.”

We’re approaching the moment when what happens next will hopefully be determined by informed voters, religious or not, who are unswayed by mailboxes full of lies and distortions, exercising a collective power unique to the American experience.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. mayorgreene@mayorgreene.com

About Richard Greene

Richard Greene

With long experience in government including 10 years as mayor of Arlington, an adjunct professorship in UT Arlington's School of Urban and Public Affairs and service as President George W. Bush's regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, Richard Greene is an expert on public policy, politics and decision-making on issues facing North Texas.

He has strong opinions about elected officials and those who would like to join them.

Email Richard at mayorgreene@mayorgreene.com.

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