2012 Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann intensified her push for conservative Christian voters this morning with two campaign visits to evangelical congregations in Iowa.
The church events come just one day after “The Response,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 30,000-person stadium prayer rally in Houston. Perry, who is widely expected to jump into the Republican presidential race this month, has made it clear he will be competing with Bachmann for the all-important evangelical vote in the GOP primaries.
While Bachmann’s first stop today, at Church of the Nazarene in Des Moines, has been on her schedule for at least a week, the second stop, to the nondenominational Point of Grace Church in Waukee, was added just this morning.
Addressing the congregation at the Church of the Nazarene, Bachmann discussed the origins of her religious faith and her political ambitions. She said she was inspired to enter politics by “questionable materials” her foster children brought home from school.
“They brought some very questionable materials home in their backpack and I didn’t want to just go and gripe to my school, I wanted to go and do something positive,” Bachmann said, according to the Des Moines Register. “”We became the state in the country that repealed a federal government program that had the federal government taking over the local government classroom and essentially pushing high academics out and then putting politically correct attitudes, values and beliefs into schools.”
The heightened effort to reach out to Iowa’s religious voters shows that Bachmann doesn’t plan on ceding evangelical support to Perry without a fight. As we have previously noted, evangelicals make up nearly 50% of Republican primary voters — 60% in Iowa and South Carolina, both key early voting states.
Today’s church visits indicate that The Response has put the Bachmann team on defence. On Friday night, the eve of The Response, the campaign announced the endorsements of 100 Iowa “pastors and faith leaders.”
“Many of the evangelical leaders offered support after hearing her testimony and witnessing how her faith guides her strong leadership on critical issues such as marriage, life, and the overbearing impact of government policies on the family,” the campaign said in a press release.
NBC News reports that the second church service, at Point of Grace Church, addressed homosexuality and marriage, and featured a video from a man who claimed to be gay before having a conversation with God.
“We inherently know that homosexual behaviour is immoral and unnatural,” Point of Grace Pastor Jeff Mullen said. Mullen later told NBC that the sermon was planned before the Bachmanns’ visit was announced.
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