Evangelical eggshells

"Evangelical eggshells" Continued...

Issue: "All heart," July 14, 2007

Those conservative themes resonate with this audience, and Giuliani exits the stage to enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation. (The New York Sun noted the significance of Giuliani's success at Regent with the next-day headline: "Giuliani Gets a Standing Ovation at a Christian College.")

Shortly after his speech, Giuliani faces a much tougher crowd: an eager press corps assembled next door. The first question comes fast: Why did you make a conscious decision to avoid mentioning abortion in your speech? Giuliani's reply: "It wasn't a conscious decision. It was a decision to make a speech on leadership." He says he's given a similar speech many times and "I've never mentioned abortion before, so it would actually have been a conscious decision to go out of my way to mention it."

Next question: Will your experience as New York City's mayor during 9/11 be enough to conquer the reservations of social conservatives? Giuliani's reply: "Nope." He says they will also have to trust his experience as a U.S. attorney and associate attorney general during Reagan's administration.

Outside in the bustling foyer, Charles Dunn seems satisfied with those answers. Dunn, the dean of the Robertson School of Government at Regent, says he was impressed with Giuliani's performance at the school. "I think he really showcased his appeal to social conservatives," Dunn told WORLD.

Dunn acknowledges evangelical resistance to Giuliani but says his candidacy pits "purists" against "pragmatists." Purists like James Dobson and Richard Land dismiss Giuliani based on a couple of issues, Dunn says, but pragmatists like Pat Robertson believe that Giuliani is preferable to Democratic candidates: "Half a loaf is better than no loaf."

Dunn speculates that Giuliani could overcome the abortion issue by continuing to express his abhorrence of the procedure. (Giuliani has said he "hates abortion," though he supports legal access to it.) Dunn also says Giuliani could promise to appoint conservative judges and choose a pro-life running mate.

In the meantime, Dunn says Giuliani should continue to emphasize the paramount importance of national security, an issue that most Republicans can agree on. Giuliani's message, he says, is that "terrorism is a direct threat to all of us. And as important as those other issues are, they don't directly affect all of us."

If Giuliani presses that message, he'll part ways with his presidential role model, the staunchly pro-life Reagan. While president in 1983, Reagan wrote in an unsolicited editorial for The Human Life Review: "Abortion concerns not just the unborn child, it concerns every one of us."

President Reagan wrote that his administration was committed to preserving America's freedom. But he added: "There is no cause more important for preserving that freedom than affirming the transcendent right to life of all human beings, the right without which no other rights have any meaning."

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the political beat and other topics as national editor for WORLD Magazine. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Power campaigns

    The GOP is fighting to maintain control of Congress…


    Troubling ties

    Under the Clinton State Department, influence from big money…