With a certain pro-abortion rights, pro-gay marriage, Hollywood action star-turned-governor and a very moderate former mayor of New York listed as the top prime-time attractions at the Republican National Convention, one might wonder where that leaves the party's most faithful religious conservatives.
How about nowhere?
Religious leaders such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson say that not only have they not been offered any speaking roles at this year's convention, but just three weeks before the event, they have yet to be invited.
Could it be that in a race so tight every swing vote is being chased like the most popular kid in school, the Republicans don't want to alienate moderates with the in-your-face religious oratory of its most partisan supporters?
Not so, according to Ralph Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition and now a national spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign. Reed told the Associated Press, which first reported this, that conservative Christians will have a central role at the convention, set to begin in Manhattan on Aug. 30.
"There is a specific program under way to invite social conservatives and religious leaders of a very broad or diverse representation, and that is even underway as we speak," Reed said.
It may be too late. The snub has offended religious leaders. Christian Coalition founder Robertson, who has attended every GOP convention since 1988, said he would not be going this year even if an invitation eventually makes its way to his mailbox. James Dobson, of the "Focus on the Family" broadcast, likewise does not plan to attend.
But Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition, said she was not worried about a lack of religious conservatives at the convention, or that a planned rally was canceled because of "security concerns." After all, she said, reminding the country of the born-again Christian in chief, "We have the president."
Never Say Never: Alexander's Unwavering Stand
What happened in 41/2 months? Back on March 18, Rep. Rodney Alexander, who this week abandoned the Democratic Party to become a Republican, wrote his constituents in Louisiana's 5th Congressional District that he was committed to remaining a Democrat despite offers from GOP leaders that he become one of them.
Alexander wrote that even though "the Democratic Party in Washington frequently moves to far to the left on many important social issues . . . I have come to the conclusion that it would be impossible to join a party that not only ignores the people that make this country great, but also pressures their members to vote against any and all bills that are supported by unions. . . . I have learned during my first term in the U.S. Congress that there is a Republican led attack on the most fundamental rights that labor unions have worked decades to establish.
"I strongly support a minimum wage increase, safety in the work place, collective bargaining rights and FAIR trade practices. I cannot and will not join a party that does not share these values."