Magazine article Church & State

Religious Right Groups Uncertain about Which GOP Hopeful to Support

Magazine article Church & State

Religious Right Groups Uncertain about Which GOP Hopeful to Support

Article excerpt

Religious Right activists and the organizations they represent remain unhappy with the current flock of Republican presidential hopefuls, and some are gravitating toward former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, who has yet to announce his candidacy.

The Thompson boomlet got a further boost last month when news reports indicated that Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, would introduce Thompson during a meeting of the Council for National Policy (CNP) in Virginia.

The CNP is a secretive organization of far-right figures. Although the group normally shuns media publicity, The Politico, a Washington-based publication that covers politics, reported on the Land-Thompson connection May 9.

Land represents a tax-exempt religious denomination, but he has not let that stop him from acting as a political powerbroker, freely handicapping the GOP race. He has announced that he will not vote for former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani or Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House.

Land's decision to introduce Thompson to the CNP has been interpreted as a sign that he supports the ex-senator's effort. Thompson has yet to officially announce his candidacy but is expected to do so soon. Land has praised Thompson in the past, calling him a "Southern-fried Reagan."

The CNP has had a hard time finding a candidate to back. Nearly a dozen Republicans are running, but the group has been unable to line up behind one. …

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