Texas Governor Rick Perry and the Evangelical vote

William Lawrence, dean of SMU's Perkins School of Theology, discusses Evangelicals and Texas Gov. Rick Perry's Methodist ties and his race for president.

DALLAS, TX (KERA) - Conservative, Christian voters will be important to Governor Rick Perry if he wants to win the Republican Presidential nomination. Yet Perry's campaign has been slow to answer questions about his specific religious beliefs. KERA's Shelley Kofler takes a look at some of the questions so-called Evangelical voters will be asking.

One of the first things conservative, Christian voters might want to know is whether Rick Perry is still a Methodist who believes in United Methodist doctrine. Or whether his beliefs are more in line with the socially conservative ministers he joined on stage during the recent day of prayer called, "The Response."

Perry / August 6: In these difficult times Father we pray for our President. That you would impart your wisdom up on him, that you would guard his family.

Perry organized the event at Houston's Reliant Stadium. It included self-described Evangelical ministers, some of whom have condemned homosexuals and Catholics.

Methodist ministers say they weren't invited to be part of the program. . .

Some Methodists, by the way, take exception to conservative Christians claiming the Evangelical banner. Methodist scholars say they're Evangelicals, too.

Lawrence: Evangelical literally means preaching or speaking or proclaiming good news.

William Lawrence is dean of Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology.

Lawrence: What happened to the word in the 1970's is that it began to be hijacked by political interests particularly conservative and right wing interests who wanted to co-op the word Evangelical and apply it not to a set of theological issues but rather to a political set of issues.

Read the full story or listen to the report. audio icon At the end of the story, there is a link to a podcast of Dean Lawrence's discussion of the politics of Evangelicals with KERA's Shelley Kofler.

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