Onward Obama Soldiers

Christian soldiers.jpgThe Obamaites are ramping up religious outreach for the general. Yesterday, in a Chicago law office, Obama met with a group of 30 religious leaders, featuring African-American denominational officials, the Catholic law professor Douglas Kmiec, and such evangelical luminaries as Franklin Graham and Richard Cizik. Oh and T.D. Jakes. This seems to have been a meet-and-greet, not without prayer and testimony from the candidate. For students of American religion, the group (all of whose names have not been released) provides an interesting take on centrist religious oomph in early 21st-century American public life. No hard-right types, of course, nor (so far as has been reported) leading white mainline Protestant figures nor Catholic hierarchs. That Candidate Obama has succeeded in pressing the flesh with Billy Graham's successor and heir, on his own Chicago turf, at a time when Candidate McCain still seems to be finding his campaign religious feet, as it were, has got to be unsettling to the GOP apparat.
Meanwhile, Mara Vanderslice's Matthew 25 Committee, a Pac dedicated to supporting Obama, held its first fundraiser last night. Vanderslice ran religion for Kerry-Edwards in 2004 (a short, unhappy experience for her) and then did impressive work on the Stickland, Sebelius, and Casey campaigns. It's interesting that this fundraiser has proceeded in the face of last month's well publicizied instructions from Obama's money guys for their people not to support Obama-supporting 527s. Either they didn't really mean it, or there's now a First Amendment to the Obama Fundraising Constitution guaranteeing the free exercise of 527 religion.
Update: According to Kim Lawton of Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (the largest Lutheran church in America, and the mainline one) was present at the meeting with Obama. The bishop in question is Mark S. Hanson of St. Paul.