Democrats and Evangelicals on Easter

Nathan Gonzales reports that, despite a conscious effort to appeal more to religious voters, Howard Dean and the rest of the Democratic Party leadership are having serious problems.

Two recent press releases from the Democratic National Committee reflect the party’s continuous struggle to understand evangelicals in America.

A March 30 press release entitled “DNC Offers Passover Greetings” included a joint statement by Chairman Howard Dean and DNC Vice Chair Susan Turnbull. The release was appropriate and timely and included their definition of the event, though it ignored the religious aspect. “On Monday night, Jews around the world will begin celebrating Passover, a week-long holiday that commemorates the Israelites’ freedom from persecution and slavery.”

Then, a week later, the DNC celebrated Easter with another statement from Dean, including his definition of the holiday. “Easter Sunday is a joyful celebration. The holiday represents peace, redemption and renewal, a theme which brings hope to people of all faiths.”

Dean’s Easter statement seems to bend over backwards not to mention Jesus and demonstrates either a misunderstanding of the evangelical community or a fear of alienating other voting blocs with religious talk.

“This press release, absent any reference to Jesus, without whom the Easter resurrection story is meaningless, is apparently a sad reflection of a ‘lowest common denominator’ religious outreach of the Democratic party,” said Richard Cizik, Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, “Wake up and smell the Easter lillies! This kind of outreach will not pass the smell test of any evangelical.”


[…]

Dean and the DNC simply missed the target this Easter. The press release was astonishing because it’s sole purpose was to acknowledge a religious holiday, yet it was painfully-worded to avoid being religious. If this press release was part of the Democratic Party’s outreach to evangelicals, they probably would have been better off just skipping it altogether.

It is, frankly, most bizarre.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Anderson says:

    Bizarre, yes. But not just a Democratic problem. Having a 2-year-old, I’ve been contemplating SpongeBob’s Easter, Mickey Mouse’s Easter, etc., etc.

    It’s the least secular of holidays; it’s presumably not celebrated by anyone *not* professing to be Christian; and yet, there’s all this silly secular merchandise.

    Here’s a marketing opportunity: targeting SpongeBob books to different denominations. In the Passover one, he’s Jewish, Christian in the Easter one, Muslim in the Ramadan book …

  2. spencer says:

    Why should anyone who believes in democracy and freedom of religion want to reach out to those who want to use the power of the state to impose their religious beliefs on others?

  3. G.A.Phillips says:

    He is proud, Knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from witch come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth,who suppose that godliness is a means gain. From such withdraw yourself. 1 Timothy 6:4,6:5, an explanation for Mr. Dean and a lesson for the rest of us.

  4. G.A.Phillips says:

    Spencer, plz clarify.

  5. Bandit says:

    He is proud, Knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from witch come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth,who suppose that godliness is a means gain. From such withdraw yourself. 1 Timothy 6:4,6:5

    Andy’s got the same problem.

    Dean’s problem is obvious – he can’t lie convincingly enough.

  6. Anderson says:

    Andy’s got the same problem.

    I can honestly say that I have never felt the slightest trace of “witch come envy.”

  7. R. Hoeppner says:

    It’s no secret that the DNC is anti-Christian in it’s political platform so why would “I” as a Christian expect them to pay homage to my Lord with lip service? The DNC’s pronouncement on a religious holiday that completely ignored Jesus Christ (on one of Christendom’s two most holy days) reveals exactly where they are. I think that those Democrats who also call themselves Christian should take note and re-evaluate their choices. To acknowledge Jesus Christ’s resurrection (or birth for that matter) would be to acknowledge their need for Him to be their Savior.