New liberal Christian groups hope to turn Trump voters to ‘Pope Francis voters’

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(RNS) — Liberal-leaning Christian groups and faith leaders have formed a slate of new political action committees and initiatives in recent weeks, most of which criticize the president in ways that could help Democrats with religious voters come November.

The Religious Left projects span the Christian spectrum, with evangelical, Catholic and mainline Christian leaders all vying to get out the vote for Democrats — or at least change people’s minds about Donald Trump.

Network, a Catholic social justice lobby, revealed to Religion News Service that it’s planning to announce a new project that includes a $50,000 digital ad buy targeting Catholic voters in swing states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona using Facebook, Google and Instagram. (The initiative is legally distinct from Network’s traditional nonprofit wing, which is allowed to be involved in advocacy but not electoral politics.)

The Network team plans to run ads arguing that Trump is not “pro-life” because of his support for the death penalty and what they say is his failure to act on issues like poverty.

The campaign will also feature a “PopeFrancisVoter.org” website, where users will be asked questions, such as, “Do you believe that being Pro-Life encompasses more than a stance on abortion?”

“This election is different because President Trump rejects our Catholic values and does everything in his power to divide us while our economy and health care systems collapse under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lee Morrow, elections manager for Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and head of the new initiative. “Catholics cannot be single-issue voters.”

For Morrow, Catholic values involve caring for immigrants, the elderly and the poor and addressing racism, among other issues.

“To be true to my Catholic faith and the teachings of Pope Francis, I have to do everything in my power to make sure that Donald Trump loses in November,” he said.

“These former Trump voters are becoming Pope Francis Voters.”

Biden and Francis

Pope Francis, right, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden, waves to the crowd on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, as they stand on the Speaker’s Balcony on Capitol Hill, after the pope addressed a joint meeting of Congress inside. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Network joins several liberal Christian groups aimed at influencing religious voters. Among them is the New Moral Majority PAC, a group co-founded this month by the Rev. Noel Anderson, a longtime faith-based immigrant rights organizer, and the Rev. Ryan M. Eller, a veteran faith-based organizer based in Louisville, Kentucky.

The group has created a digital tool geared toward getting faith leaders to endorse Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ campaign, making the endorsement blitz its “primary focus” heading into November.

Several faith leaders, such as the Rev. Jacqui Lewis of Middle Collegiate Church in New York City, endorsed Biden and Harris via NMM this week.

“The policies of a new Biden-Harris administration will be built on principles that more closely align with our Christian beliefs,” ​Anderson said in a press release.​

Anderson and Eller’s group plans to partner with Vote Common Good, a separate organization led by liberal-leaning evangelicals.

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