Yes, yes. Mike Huckabee. I know many evangelicals love him. But could Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty fit the bill for evangelicals too? Think about it. Minnesota is a purple state, he’s popular articulate, young and handsome and an Evangelical to boot. Stop the presses! That’s called the Evangelical trifecta. I believe we actually have reaction from some Evangelicals in this video. Click here.
Read below from The Minnesota Independent:
Pawlenty became an evangelical Christian in the mid-1980s when he married Mary Anderson, a member of Wooddale Church, an evangelical megachurch in Eden Prairie. The couple were married by the Rev. Leith Anderson, a senior pastor at Wooddale since 1977. Anderson happens to be the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization representing more than 30 million American evangelicals. In fact, Anderson had been the president of NAE from 1999 to 2003, and became the current president after the Rev. Ted Haggard's troubles involving methamphetamines and gay sex forced him out in 2006.
Despite Anderson's and the NAE's promises to keep politics out of the pulpit this year, and despite Pawlenty's increasingly downplayed evangelism, Pawlenty and Anderson's close relationship both politically and personally will signal to 30 million evangelicals that Pawlenty is one of them. And the groundwork for that vast network has already been laid. Pawlenty's already met and spoke with a large number of evangelical leaders.
Pawlenty's connection to the NAE through his pastor is quite unique for a politician. When Pawlenty goes to church on Sundays, he is also heading to the church that houses a good many of the NAE's headquarters.
In 2003, Pawlenty and Wooddale hosted about 1,600 evangelical leaders from around the country for a two-day convention of the National Association of Evangelicals. Pawlenty praised the work of President Bush and his faith-based initiatives, a program that funnels federal funds to religious charities. "If you're going to change destructive behavior, you've got to change hearts," said Pawlenty, according to the Star Tribune. "Governors can't do that. We hope you can do that in a God-honoring manner that meets the challenges of our day."
In 2004, the evangelical Twin Cities Festival drew around 80,000 people to the Minnesota Capitol grounds for a two-day faith event. Pawlenty offered a warm reception, and even held event-organizing meetings with Luis Palau, according to the Pioneer Press. Of the festival, Pawlenty said, "I'm proud to be associated with such an important faith event. Faith is an important glue that holds our state together." He added that he prayed "that God will bless this weekend and continue to bless this great state." Mary Pawlenty was a featured speaker at the festival.
Pawlenty has quietly but firmly put his evangelical beliefs to work in his political life as governor. In 2003, an inauguration ceremony was held at Wooddale just before his swearing in with Anderson saying a few words: "I believe the God of government has brought Tim Pawlenty to the governor's office in St. Paul for peace and good in the lives of all Minnesotans." He had a similar ceremony at Wooddale in January 2007 after winning reelection in 2006.
Here’s how the Baptist Press describes him and his actions:
Re-elected as governor of Minnesota in 2006, Pawlenty is pro-life and has spoken at March for Life rallies in St. Paul on the anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision. At the 2006 rally, he told marchers, according to the Associated Press, "We have a dream today that someday soon this will not be an anniversary of sadness, but an anniversary of justice restored." He also has signed into law several pro-life bills, including one requiring a mandatory 24-hour waiting period before a woman can obtain an abortion.
He has received high marks from pro-family officials on a number of issues. This year he vetoed a bill that would have allowed local governments to offer marriage-like domestic partner benefits to their homosexual employees. He also has been a staunch supporter of a proposed constitutional marriage amendment, although it has failed to make it out of the legislature. In addition, he has opposed so-called comprehensive sex education.
He recently vetoed a bill that would have allowed taxpayer dollars be used for embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning, LifeNews.com reported. In his veto message he encouraged the use of alternatives.
"Significant and promising progress continues to be made on the use of adult stem cells. This creates ample opportunity to work toward lifesaving cures," Pawlenty said. "We should encourage this science."
He told a gathering of Republicans in 2006 that Minnesota, long considered a left-leaning state, is becoming conservative.
"We're fighting a tradition that is deeply liberal," he said. "But it's changing. It's changing. And we do not want to go back."