Pedro offers you his protection

vote pedroThree cheers for Paul Nussbaum's witty lede on a Philadelphia Inquirer feature about evangelicals and politics:

The only bumper sticker on the Rev. Ted Haggard's red pickup truck proclaims: Vote for Pedro.

Haggard, founder and senior minister of the 11,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, is president of the National Association of Evangelicals. Pedro is Pedro Sanchez, the inscrutable candidate for class president in the screwball comedy movie Napoleon Dynamite.

This is not the politics usually associated with evangelical Christians.

(Surely there has to be at least one wingnut trying to crack the code this very evening, to demonstrate with geometric logic that P-E-D-R-O = G-B-U-S-H.)

In a brief sidebar, Nussbaum lists variations on the evangelical theme, including evangelical Catholics (a concept debated here when Time chose Richard John Neuhaus as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America):

Catholic evangelicals This counterintuitive term identifies Roman Catholics who embrace much of the public-witness style of evangelical Protestants. "They have the fire and zeal usually associated with evangelicals," said William Portier, a religious studies professor at the University of Dayton and the author of the recent essay, "Here Come the Evangelical Catholics." Portier estimates the number of evangelical Catholics at 10 percent to 20 percent of the under-40 Catholic population.

No striking insights here, and nothing especially new to people who watch the evangelicals-and-politics story regularly, but Nussbaum deserves points for moving past some of the most tired stereotypes.

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