As Republican presidential hopefuls crisscross the country appealing to faithful conservatives for their votes, the Republican National Committee’s website no longer lists “Faith” or “Values” among its “most important issues.”
The “Faith & Values” tab on the GOP.com website disappeared during a 2009 site-redesign project. The resulting lack of online religious focus comes at a time when nearly all Republican presidential candidates are reinforcing their conservative credentials on faith and social issues.
Earlier this month, presidential candidate Michele Bachmann shared her religious beliefs during a speech at an Iowa church. “If we humble ourselves, and pray and confess our sins, and turn away from our wicked ways, and ask an almighty God to come and protect us and fight the battle for us, we know from his word, his promise is sure,” Bachmann preached.
Bachmann was also heard accounting for her pro-life beliefs — something she shares with all but one of her fellow contenders. (Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson supports a woman’s right to choose abortion up to the point of fetal viability.)
Bachmann’s rhetoric, however, doesn’t match up with her political party’s website.
Since 2004, the GOP.com website has made prominent references to “faith” and “values” as principal issues for the Republican party. (Dissatisfied Republicans develop plan for brokered convention)
In 2005, “Faith & Values” were clearly front-burner issues on the RNC’s website, which happily proclaimed then-president George W. Bush’s success advocating for faith-based organization to keep competitive grants.
RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski insists the website’s failure to address faith issues is unintentional.
“They’re not really missing,” Kukowski told TheDC. “Under the previous administration in ’09, GOP.com was totally redone.”
Kukowski said she wasn’t sure why the GOP’s flagship website ditched its “Faith & Values” section under former RNC Chairman Michael Steele. Adding it back under the site’s “Issues” tab, however, isn’t a top priority and may prove too pricey for the cash-strapped GOP.
“This is the website we were given, and right now we just don’t have the resources,” Kukowski said. “There was a bit of a cash-flow issue; fundraising and bringing money in the doors is the number one priority.”
Still, Faith and Freedom Coalition director Gary Marx hopes to see more work on the website.
“It looks like the techies and the policy shop have a little bit more work left to do,” Marx said. (RNC wants probe into Obama fundraising video filmed in White House)
Kukowski said faith and values continue to be core concerns for the GOP, pointing to GOP.com for a link to the 2008 Party Platform.
“It’s in our platform, which you can still find on our website,” Kukowski said. “Nobody is characterizing that faith and value aren’t a part of what we do.”
Indeed, “faith” is mentioned twelve times in the 60-page party platform declaration, while “American Values” claims its own section in the document.
Shortly before the GOP published its 2008 platform, however, references to God, Faith, and values were far more common at GOP.com.
In January 2008, the Republican Party bragged about all President George W. Bush had done to support the Defense Of Marriage Act, and to keep the phrase “Under God” in America’s official motto. Then, the GOP website’s “Faith & Values” section praised Bush as the most pro-life president in history.
Today, such references are MIA.
Kukoski said the Republican Party will re-examine its website during the coming months, especially as the Republican National Convention approaches.