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Candidates tout Christianity, conservatism at Concord church

30 Jun

CONCORD, NH — Monday night, a new face joined the Republicans jockeying for office — that of Christianity.

Religion — a topic that has been largely avoided in the race — made its appearance at a candidate Q&A Monday night at the World of Life Church in Concord, when each of the candidates emphasized the importance of religion as they spoke to voters.

It was understandable that the candidates addressed Christianity in their speeches, considering that they were speaking to voters in a church.

But it was a marked departure from their usual stump speeches — addresses that they rarely alter from one event to another.

Candidates prepare to engage in a Q&A at the World of Life Church in Concord.

Bob Giuda‘s speech strayed the least from his usual message. He emphasized themes of moral responsibility, ethics reform in Congress, and the need for churches to engage in politics — all in keeping with his general political view.

“Churches must, and will, be an important part of this American revolution,” he said.

Charlie Bass, ever the moderate, made a few vague remarks at the beginning of his speech about the Founding Fathers being Christians and the importance of religion in public life.

“I believe it’s important that churches be involved in the discussion about government,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with that.”

But it was Jennifer Horn‘s speech that exited the most from its usual trajectory, as she spoke at length about her upbringing with its commitment to faith and public service and the role of religion in her own family’s life.

“Growing up with faith was probably one of the most influential experiences in my life,” she said.

All three of the candidates seemed quite genuine when talking about their faith and beliefs in regards to Christianity — this did not come across as a political ploy.

It makes sense that they would downplay their views on Christianity while campaigning in a fairly secular state — New Hampshire ranked second to last in most religious states, according to a Gallup poll.

But if religion has truly shaped the candidates — and certainly Horn — as they said Monday night, it seems that it would have made its way into the public discourse earlier, regardless of the topic’s appeal in the state at large.

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