At the top of the SBC Fred story

sbcAs a rule, GetReligion doesn't spend much time addressing the contents of the religious or denominational press, as opposed to the coverage of religion in the mainstream press. As a professor of mine used to say, we focus on religion news, not religious news.

However, I think anyone who is interested in how the crowded field of GOP presidential hopefuls will sort out has to be interested in how the Southern Baptist Convention's elites view the various candidates. This is especially true in a year in which social conservatives have not been thrilled, shall we say, by the options they have seen so far. You can cut the doubt with a knife.

So now there is a new man on the shopping list.

If anyone needed proof that Roe v. Wade remains the central issue in public life for religious conservatives, all they would need to do is scan the top of the Baptist Press story covering Fred Thompson's entry into the race. Check this out:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson announced his candidacy for president Sept. 5 after weeks of speculation, joining a field of eight other Republican candidates and giving social conservatives another top-tier choice.

Thompson told the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" audience simply, "I'm running for president of the United States," and then hours later had a 15-minute video posted on his website outlining his vision for America. In that video he touched on two major social conservative themes -- the sanctity of life and the role of the judiciary -- and told how thinking about his children's future drove him to run.

And later in the report:

"It's very important that the next president appoint federal judges who interpret the Constitution, not try to make it fit their own personal or political views," he said on the video. "I've seen both kinds of judges, and I know the difference."

He said he believes in the "sanctity of life -- the great truth that every life matters, that no person is beneath the protection of the law."

This is an obvious fact of GOP life, especially in Bible Belt primaries. Issues come and go, but this is the one old fact that never goes away. That is just as true on the cultural left as on the cultural right. Sad, but true.

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