President Obama and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) are receiving some criticism over the new head of their religious outreach. In October, the DNC announced Derrick Harkins, senior pastor of Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., would lead the 2012 effort. Harkins actively promotes progressive policies, and he also serves on the boards of the National Association of Evangelicals, World Relief, and Faith in Public Life.
His link to evangelicals may be a strength, but it is also causing controversy among some in the Democratic Party’s liberal base because of his views on marriage and abortion.
Blowback began when Religion Dispatches senior editor Sarah Posner reported her interview with Harkins from several months ago. Harkins worked closely with the Circle of Protection and Sojourners to lobby for the continuation of anti-poverty programs.