The Church of St. Evangelical

409542715 6a82e4b7caThis is a strange one and I know that. Pause with me, for a moment, and consider the cutline on a photo that ran with the following New York Times story, written by reporter Michael Luo. Please remember that reporters hardly even write headline and cutlines.

I also wish that I could show you the photo, but it's an Associated Press item and under copyright.

So, right now, click here and go look at that.

Here's the headline: "McCain Extends His Outreach, but Evangelicals Are Still Wary."

Here's the cutline:

Senator John McCain and his wife, Cindy, left, with Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana behind him, in New Orleans in April. Mr. McCain has begun reaching out more aggressively to evangelicals.

Now, look at the photo. I think you will see a statue in the foreground that is similar to the one illustrating this post. It's of St. Joseph, holding the infant Jesus. There is some chance that the statue in the AP photo is actually of Jesus, holding a child in an illustration of the "suffer the little children to come unto me" verse in scripture, but those statues usually have more than one child in the scene. Of course, we can only see a small part of the statue.

However, I know of very few "evangelical" churches -- no matter how you define that word -- that have statues of St. Joseph in their front yards (or even classical statues of Jesus, for that matter). I predict that this is actually a Catholic parish in Louisiana, in large part because of the presence in the photo of that "serious Catholic" named Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The story itself focuses overwhelmingly on evangelical voters, but it is clear that Luo knows that there are other religious conservatives in this country. Here is the top of the piece:

Lori Viars, an evangelical activist in Warren County, Ohio, essentially put her life on hold in the fall of 2004 to run a phone bank for President Bush. ... But Ms. Viars, who is among a cluster of socially conservative activists in Ohio being courted by Senator John McCain's campaign through regular e-mail messages, is taking a wait-and-see attitude for now toward Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee. ...

Ms. Viars's hesitation illustrates what remains one of Mr. McCain's biggest challenges as he faces a general election contest with Senator Barack Obama: a continued wariness toward him among evangelicals and other Christian conservatives, a critical voting bloc for Republicans that could stay home in the fall or at least be decidedly unenthusiastic in their efforts to get out the vote.

So there are "evangelicals," but there are also other "socially conservative activists." Finally, there is even a reference to "evangelicals and other Christian conservatives," which implies non-evangelical conservatives being present in the American population.

So the article gets its facts straight and I urge you to read it.

The photo cutline, meanwhile, made me laugh out loud. I hope others get a chuckle out of it, too. Cheers.

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