The organization's executive director David O'Steen said that in spite of variation in polling results, "the overwhelming consensus has been that he is best positioned to top pro-abortion candidate Rudy Giuliani for the Republican nomination ... and also, looking at polls against the likely Democrats, he is well-positioned, and we believe [he is] best positioned, to win the presidency of the United States for unborn children."
My take on it: This is a critical endorsement for Thompson, who has an excellent voting record on pro-life issues but has taken flak because of a principled stand that is unpopular among some Republicans -- opposing a Constitutional amendment outlawing abortion, not because he's soft on abortion but because he believes it should be decided by the states (as it was before Roe v. Wade).
Also, Baptist Press reports that three former presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention have endorsed Mike Huckabee.
James (Jimmy) T. Draper Jr., Jack Graham and JerryMy take on this one: Interestingly enough this didn't pick up in my news scrape yesterday. None of these men is a lightning rod like Robertson, Wildmon, or Dobson, but you don't get elected to lead the SBC without long and solid conservative and evangelical credentials; why didn't the mainstream media seem to notice this announcement?
Vines all said they were supporting Huckabee, a fellow Southern Baptist and former president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Draper and Vines served as president of the SBC during the 1980s and played key roles in returning the denomination to its orthodox roots. Graham served as president of the SBC from 2003-05.
For perspective, membership in the Southern Baptist Convention is over 16 million, which is more than the population of any state except California, Texas, New York, or Florida (and exceeds the combined population of the fourteen smaller states). Don't forget, too, that doesn't count young children in most cases. It's nothing to sneeze at.
A few more interesting endorsements highlighted in the Baptist Press article -- Stephen Strang of Charisma magazine, and Dr. Daniel Akins of our own Southeast Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest.
Evangelical Endorsements So Far:
For Rudy Giuliani:
Pat Robertson (Founder, Christian Broadcasting Network)
For Mitt Romney:
Paul Weyrich, (Co-founder, The Moral Majority)
Dr. Bob Jones III (Former president, Bob Jones University)
Dr. John Willke (Founder, National Right To Life)
For Fred Thompson:
National Right To Life Committee
For John McCain:
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)
For Mike Huckabee:
Home School Legal Defense Association PAC
Rev. Donald Wildmon (President, American Family Association)
Rev. Jerry Vines (Former president, Southern Baptist Convention)
Rev. Jimmy Draper (Former president, Southern Baptist Convention)
Rev. Jack Graham (Former president, Southern Baptist Convention)
Stephen Strang (Founder, Charisma magazine)
Dr. Daniel Akin (President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)