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August 7th, 2011

The Who, What, and Where of Bachmann’s Religious Leader Endorsements

U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann released a list Friday of 103 Iowa pastors and faith leaders who have endorsed her candidacy for president.

Because of restrictions on tax-exempt institutions, churches walk a fine line in getting involved in politics, but there is nothing that prevents a pastor or other church employee from endorsing a political candidate. On the one hand the list carries the clout of 103 pastors and faith leaders, yet it includes a disclaimer that these individuals have endorsed Rep. Bachmann as private citizens and not as representatives of the churches and organizations they are affiliated with or represent.  As such, the list released by the Bachmann campaign does not provide any information on the communities or institutions in which these individuals minister and serve as faith leaders.

The list includes 38 individuals who are identified by the title reverend or pastor. Slightly more than half, 53, are men, and 50 are women. The list also includes 37 married couples, many of whom are pastors and their wives. No women are listed with a ministerial title.

The list is made up of religious powerbrokers and prayer warriors from a variety of evangelical Christian Churches, including at least ten non-denominational churches, eight Baptist churches, three Nazarene churches and three Church of Christ congregations. The list also includes individuals associated with Free Methodist, Congregational, Christian Reformed churches and one LCMC Lutheran congregation. The list does not include ministers or members affiliated with any Roman Catholic or main line Protestant churches.

The endorsers come from more than 34 rural and urban communities across the state, with the largest number, 15, coming from Des Moines and the surrounding metro area, followed by 12 from Oskaloosa.

Individuals affiliated with some of the better known churches and institutions include Rev. Jeff Mullen and his wife, Cathy, from Point of Grace Church in Waukee; Rev. Gary Pilcher from Berean Assembly of God in Pleasant Hill; Drew Klein from the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition [Klein actually is employed by Bachmann’s campaign], West Des Moines; campus minister Spencer Thury from William Penn University in Oskaloosa; Ankeny Christian Academy marketing director, Jane McWilliams; Kim Cotter, manager of KTFC 103.3 FM, a religious broadcasting station in Sioux City; and Steven Inman, an elder at Eagle Vision Church in Des Moines who ran for Iowa House District 67 and lost to Democrat Kevin McCarthy.

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About the Author

Polly Twocents
Polly Twocents is the pseudonym for the political commentary of Patti Brown, a partner in the Iowa Policy Institute, a research and analysis firm specializing in public policy issues. Patti is an Iowa mother of five who has a masters degree in journalism with a minor in political science from Iowa State University and an masters in social work from the University of Iowa. Patti worked for many years as a social worker in hospital, hospice and mental health settings. In addition she has also been a staff writer and columnist for The Catholic Mirror and a writer for The Des Moines Register. She is unabashedly and consistently pro-life and pro-family. As a bleeding heart conservative, Patti believes in a limited, representative government, personal responsibility, individual opportunity, and free enterprise.

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