Rushville Republican

Church

July 3, 2014

Faith offers valuable connection for southern Dems

ATLANTA (AP) - Jason Carter, former President Jimmy Carter’s grandson, stepped into the pulpit of South Columbus United Methodist Church for a Palm Sunday sermon and offered a message of Christian responsibility to the poor, with his phone in hand.

“How many of you have the Bible (app) on your phone? I bet all of you do,” Carter said to laughs from the crowd. Worshippers listened as the Democrat running for Georgia governor read from his phone a New Testament verse about the importance of “things that are not seen.”

The technology has changed in the four decades since Jimmy Carter spoke openly about his religious beliefs while campaigning, first for Georgia governor and then president. But the broader message of a shared faith remains the same.

Religion offers a powerful connection with many in the South, considered the most religious part of the country. Some Democrats hoping to reverse Republican gains in Georgia and elsewhere are finding their faith can be a valuable way to reach voters.

Religion can be a very personal matter, and candidates vary in how much they are willing to talk about their faith.

In Kentucky, Democratic U.S. Sen. candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes hasn’t spoken much publicly about her Catholic upbringing. But in Georgia, U.S. Sen. candidate Michelle Nunn highlighted her faith in an early TV ad about her grandmother, whom she called “Mama.”

“I remember as a child, going to church with Mama, every Sunday in Perry and learning how we live out our faith by helping others,” Democrat Nunn says as an image of her as a young child sitting in church flashes on the screen.

Nunn, in an interview, said faith is a powerful bond shared by many. Raised Methodist, she attends church in Atlanta and is raising her two children in the Methodist faith.

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