Evangelicals' Political Power

ByABC News
January 19, 2007, 10:59 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2007 — -- Evangelical Christians are a voting force that the Democrats would love to lure away from the Republican Party. A new film by the House speaker's own daughter could help shed light on what lurks in the political heart of 50 to 80 million evangelical Americans.

Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi has produced a new documentary, "Friends of God," which airs Jan. 25 on HBO. In the film, she tours the Bible Belt with her camera.

"I came away with how mobilized they are," says the filmmaker. "These are extremely committed people who are having a huge impact on our culture and democracy."

At the D.C. screening of her daughter's documentary, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., agreed evangelicals wield significant political power. But she would not yield that powerful voting bloc to the Republicans.

"Well, they have an impact in their numbers and their dedication," she tells ABCNEWS.com.

"But there are issues we (Democrats) can connect on, like the environment, global warming and fighting poverty -- these are the areas we could work together on," Speaker Pelosi says.

Musician Moby, a friend of Alexandra Pelosi's, came from New York to attend the D.C. screening.

Republican strategist Tony Fabrizio says the documentary is a real-life depiction of the culture that he said is happening across America. "These things are happening. These people take this very seriously as an all-out war. They believe the Democratic Party does not understand their core values," says Fabrizio.

"The political aspect of it makes me crazy," says Moby, who says he used to be an evangelical Christian. "The more the Republican Party caters to the evangelicals, the more they go outside the mainstream and we saw it with issues like stem cell research and the Terri Schiavo case."

At a panel discussion following the screening of the film, Democratic strategist Anna Greenberg says the film highlights the strong organizational structure of the evangelical churches -- which Republicans have succesfully tapped into.

"The ground work, the organizational side -- that's just not matched on the Democratic side," says Greenberg.

Fabrizio says evangelical Christians became political when a wedge was driven between Christian evangelicals and mainstream America in the 1980 campaign. That year Ronald Reagan turned abortion into a successful campaign issue for the Republican Party.