DeMint to pastors: Join us

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Sen. Jim DeMint, Republican from South Carolina, implored pastors to “come out from the safety of their walls” and urge the faithful to see economic issues as moral issues Friday night at a Southern Baptist church in South Carolina.

“It’s a moral issue,” DeMint said of the federal debt. “It really is a religious issue, and this is what we’re trying to tell pastors all over the country.”

On a night usually reserved for high school football, a couple hundred constituents gathered in the fellowship hall of First Baptist North Spartanburg, a church that averages about 2,500 attendees on Sundays. The event was sponsored by CEO Round Table of South Carolina, a conservative group promoting the idea that economic and social issues are equally important.

DeMint himself certainly did not shy away from cultural issues, which have been points of tension, even in conservative circles.

“We’re not asking the government to push our religion or morals, but don’t take them away from us,” DeMint told the audience. “That’s what they do when they redefine marriage or when they say unborn children are not really a life.”

DeMint appeared with Dr. Frank Page, executive director of the Southern Baptist Convention, who gave a less political sermonette in which he said that Christians “are the ones to blame” for what he called a cultural “mess” and urged believers to focus on the “main thing,” winning the lost to Christ.

“Some of you are naïve enough to think that if we just get the right people in office, we’ll be all right,” Page told the crowd, which echoed a few amens. “You are wrong, you are wrong, you are wrong.”

The speech demonstrated how DeMint, highly influential in the Tea Party movement, which tends to unite participants around economic issues, is still a leader – even a hero – among cultural conservatives.

The music of Chris Tomlin, popular worship leader and Christian recording artist, played before the speech, and the church’s senior pastor Dr. Mike Hamlet prayed for DeMint before he left for home.

DeMint joked about taking heat from party leaders for throwing his weight behind “reinforcements” — such as Christine O’Donnell, Delaware’s Republican choice for U.S. Senate.

“I am in the doghouse in Washington,” DeMint said to loud cheers. “Up there I really feel out of place and sometimes disliked, and then I step off a plane in South Carolina or any other place in the country and people are encouraging me and telling me they’re praying for me.”

DeMint also touted the victories of candidates across the nation that he has supported, including Pat Toomey and Joe Miller, Republican picks for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania and Alaska, respectively, and took a jab at former GOP colleague Sen. Arlen Specter, Democrat from Pennsylvania.

“People say I ruined everything, that Pat Toomey can’t win in Pennsylvania, that conservatives can’t win in the Northeast, and he’s well ahead in the polls. Arlen couldn’t win as a Republican or a Democrat,” he said in the speech.

O’Donnell, Toomey, and Miller all have a couple things in common — they ran as outsiders with Tea Party support, and they are pro-life, a sign of how the two strands of conservatism so often intersect.

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  • sanjay

    Reagan democrats and Independents do not turn away from GOP because of religion,

    they turn away due to armageddon and rapture nuttery and fraud of pastors like Hagee who have hijacked Christ’s message.

    Democrats and Independents support Candidates like Demint, Ron paul, Rand Paul because they are sober christians not apocalyptic rascals.

    • PolyIndependent

      You underestimate the dislike many of us have for religion in politics.

      • rocco

        Where are you going to go?

        • PolyIndependent

          I guess I keep waiting for the return of true conservatism. I supported Ron Paul in 2008-09.

          • rocco

            You’re a Pauly. That explains a lot.

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  • tdaly

    I think you had better get to know Rand Paul and his father for that matter. Both are pro life and christians. DeMint is my senator and does not want religion in government. I think you are safe so stop freaking out! He was speaking at a Baptist Church. You people are a bunch of paranoid freaks. He is for limited government and states rights. Bringing things back to the states where they belong. Learn the facts before you speak.

  • PolyIndependent

    One more thought… the republicans always seem to be astonished when the independents leave them. We did in the 90’s, in the 2000’s, and we will again within the next decade if they let the religious right take over the MAIN party platform of fiscal responsibility.

    Is this really too hard to understand?? Get religion out.

  • PolyIndependent

    “We’re not asking the government to push our religion or morals, but don’t take them away from us,” DeMint told the audience. “That’s what they do when they redefine marriage or when they say unborn children are not really a life.”

    This is exactly why I don’t like DeMint. He can’t see his own hypocrisy.

    • doncicciofitipaldi

      That’s like saying “We’re not asking government to push our religion or morals but if they don’t push our religion or morals on everyone else, they are taking away our wrights”. Jim De Mint = looking to form whatever unholy alligence with anyone that would help this right winger challenge Mitch “McFossil” McConnell and become the MINORITY leader in the Senate. What a dispicable politician this De Mint is.

      • PolyIndependent

        Yup. DeMint is becoming increasingly gross each day. The demand that ALL legislation go through his office is the classic power play, like we saw with Ben Nelson and Max Baucus concerning health care. These guys have egos the size of our deficit. And DeMint is going to use his newly found “importance” to try to establish himself as a power player in the party, by making himself the lightening rod for the religious-right component of the tea party.

    • LibertarianRepublican

      I sincerely Rand Paul and Joe Miller serve as a counter balance to this guy I’m glad he’s willing to take a hard line on economic issues but this Religious Pandering only serves to turn secular people off to conservative (and by association libertarian) ideas.

      This is another case where I love Gary Johnson’s stance on a social issue. Pro Choice until viability and no government support of PParenthood. I think you could rally 2/3rds of voters around that position.

      • PolyIndependent

        *boom* correct. But too many now are caught up in the Beck (mormon)/Palin (born again) Tea party, and if you don’t tow ALL party lines, you’re a RINO.

      • Newly Minted

        Are you pro euthanasia after viability has stopped too?

        • PolyIndependent

          First, your question makes no sense. Second, I am 100% pro euthanasia.

          • sanjay

            Then why dont you euthanize yourself first?

          • PolyIndependent


            Then why dont you euthanize yourself first?


            You people on this website are about as reactionary and myopic as I’ve ever seen. Did I say I was a “Paulie”?? I said I supported him, and if you consider the competition in 2009, I stand by my choice. I think Ron Paul is insane in many of his views, but I also believe he will throw a HUGE monkey wrench into the works, and we can start rebuilding from there.