Religion in Presidential race tops Baptist stories in 2008by Kevin Butler
By Bob Allen of the Associated Baptist Press
(Photo of Rick Warren and Barack Obama by Scott Tokar, PiCS Saddleback Church)
Baptist journalists and observers ranked Religion in the 2008 Presidential election the year's biggest story for Baptists. Faith in politics played a major role in the year's news cycle, according to an annual ranking of top stories compiled by Associated Baptist Press.
Religion stories ranged from the surprising emergence of Southern Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee as a contender for the GOP nomination, to questions about whether Mitt Romney's Mormon faith would be a turnoff to evangelical voters, to problems for John McCain over comments by his supporter John Hagee, and to the Jeremiah Wright controversy that prompted President-elect Barack Obama to divorce himself from both his former pastor and home church.
Respondents to an annual informal survey by the independent news service based in Jacksonville, Fla., ranked religion in the 2008 presidential election the year's top story.
The rest of the top five were as follows:
2. The New Baptist Covenant Celebration. The historic gathering held Jan. 30-Feb. 1 in Alanta drew 15,000 participants from 30 Baptist conventions and organizations.
3. Election of African-American President suggests shift in religious voters.
4. Saddleback Civil Forum features Presidential candidates. Southern Baptist mega-church pastor and Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren made headlines in August when he invited both major Presidential candidates to a Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency at his church in Lake Forest, Calif.
5. The Economy. One writer predicted a faltering economy would top next year's ranking, but effects are already being felt in Baptist life.
For the remaining Top 10 stories and more details on the first five, go to Associated Baptist Press.