Howard Dean

DNC chair Dean says party needs to invite young evangelical Christians

(05-10) 13:26 PDT — Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean – who once drew criticism by dismissing the GOP as a “white Christian party” — told a San Francisco audience that his party should open its arms to a new group of converts: young evangelical Christian voters.

“We ought to reach out to those folks … and not be afraid,” Dean told an audience of about 125 at a $50-a head Democratic National Committee fundraiser Wednesday night at the Palace Hotel. The national party chairman noted that in the wake of the 2006 midterm election, nearly 30 percent of evangelical Christians now identify themselves as Democratic voters, up 10 percentage points from the previous election.

Dean credited the jump in numbers to the party’s recent aggressive outreach. “We went out and advertised on Christian broadcast networks … because in the evangelical movement, young people are changing America — and they’re changing the evangelical movement.”

“People don’t want to go to church anymore … and come out feeling bad because they happen to know somebody who’s gay,” he said. “People want to go to church because they know what they can do about poverty, about Darfur, about the environment.”

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