07/10/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Obama's Outreach To Christian Left

Obama's high-profile speech on religion was only one part of his effort to bring evangelicals over to the Democratic party, CNN reports:

Obama's outreach to evangelical voters has also included private summits with pastors, an effort to reach out to young evangelicals and a fundraiser with the Matthew 25 political action committee. It describes itself as a group of moderate evangelicals, Catholics and Protestants committed to electing the Illinois Democrat president.

Matthew 25's name is inspired by a biblical passage, in the 25th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, in which Jesus says, "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink." The name is meant to signal the group's focus on social justice concerns about hot-button cultural issues.

Brian McLaren, a former pastor who spent 24 years in the pulpit and is now an informal adviser to the Obama campaign, believes that a significant portion of evangelical voters are ready to break from their traditional home in the the Republican Party and take a new leap of faith with Obama.

"I think there's a very, very sizable percentage -- I think between a third and half -- of evangelicals, especially younger [evangelicals], who are very open to somebody with a new vision," McLaren said.

Even though McCain is less popular with evangelicals than Bush was, Obama has a lot of work to do:

Recent polling suggests, however, that a majority of white evangelical voters are still backing Sen. John McCain, though enthusiasm for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee among evangelicals is less than what it was for President Bush in 2004.

To that end, Matthew 25 is running online ads endorsing Obama:

Read more about Matthew 25 here.