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little watermelon Tuesday 08 November 2005

Peculiar musical choice for political campaign commercial

Incumbent Democratic candidate for mayor of Scranton, Chris Doherty, used music in one of his campaign commercials, from a song called "Dive" by conservative Christian musician, Steven Curtis Chapman.

Chris Doherty - Commercials
The commercial it is used in is: "Where is Chris".
Chris Doherty - "Where is Chris" ad (1.6mb wmv file)

The song by Steven Curtis Chapman is one called "Dive":
Clip of Dive by Steven Curtis Chapman (476kb mp3 file)
Christian Lyrics Online: Steven Curtis Chapman Lyrics - Dive

While outsiders might be confused about who's the liberal in the Doherty vs. DiBileo race for mayor of Scranton, because they're both apparently Democrats who apparently have the support of Republicans... It seems people with the most progressive, liberal, political opinions, seem to be in the most active support of Doherty.
DiBileo has focused his campaign on tax cuts and more police & law enforcement, whereas Doherty has been for making the city more attractive to bring higher paying jobs into the area, beautifying the city parks, and passed an anti-discrimination ordinance.
But I think it's also important to note that Northeastern Pennsylvania is highly Democrat, yet many local Democratic party politicians are actually rather conservative. (Paul Kanjorski immediately comes to mind.)

As for Steven Curtis Chapman... While there's no direct evidence of him endorsing Republican candidates or any specific conservative agenda, his concerts' opening acts have featured bands that also performed at the Republican National Conventions.

One active Democrat had this to say about Chapman:
"Steven Curtis Chapman is a Contemporary Christian Rock artist who, while not being a fundamentalist nut-job, certainly is no liberal Democrat like Doherty." -- John D.

Steven Curtis Chapman has also supported "Redeem the Vote", which is clearly a campaign to get out the right-wing conservative Christian vote.
'Redeem the Vote' registers 100,000 young people of faith - (BP)
"Working through record producers in Nashville, Tenn., Brinson and his staff gained the support of 47 contemporary Christian music artists, including Steven Curtis Chapman, Point of Grace, Jeremy Camp, FFH and Jaci Velasquez."
Evangelicals endeavor to redeem the vote - The Washington Times - October 19, 2004
"One of the newest groups is Redeem the Vote, the religious community's answer to MTV's secular Rock the Vote. The group is touring battleground states with Christian rock groups and voter-registration drives that organizers say are putting the fear of God into Sen. John Kerry's supporters."

And many Steven Curtis Chapman fans are conservative supporters of George W. Bush.
Chuck Currie: Steven Curtis Chapman's Fans Are Mad At Me. Who Is Steven Curtis Chapman? The reason Chapman's fans were mad at Chuck Currie?
The post they apparently objected to was:
Chuck Currie: Texas Paper: Why Would Christians Vote For Bush?
(I contacted Chuck Currie for some specifics of what the fans were specifically having a problem with regarding that post, but I have not yet received a response.)

Steven Curtis Chapman is also listed as one of the "Righties" on, although the link to "see why" doesn't actually mention Steven Curtis Chapman.
(I tried to sign up for the forum there in order to pose the question as to why, specifically, he's on their Righties list, and for clarification on that link, but as of this time, my membership to post has not yet been approved.)

Even if perhaps Steven Curtis Chapman's popularity with conservative Christians is merely due to his deep commitment to supporting affordable adoption (I found no evidence he directly supports any anti-abortion related political groups), and the devout Christianity in his song lyrics (I've not found any specifically political lyrics)... he still supported the campaign to 'get out the conservative Christian vote' (which was highly in favour of Republicans), and his career is obviously fueled by an abundance of politically conservative Christians.
Furthermore, I've seen no evidence that Chris Doherty favours any conservative religious agendas.

So whichever way, it still seems like a bit of a faux pas to use Chapman's music for Doherty's campaign advertisement.

That said, I personally think it's a shame that lately some people seem convinced that Christian and Liberal are mutually exclusive, just as it's a shame some people equate Islam with terrorism.

(Note: This is not an endorsement of any candidate, obviously.)
(Note: This is also not an advertisement for Steven Curtis Chapman's music.)

(Thanks John D. for the tip.)

posted by Chloe | Tuesday 08 November 2005 1:33 AM



I find compelled to point out that my PAC has still endorsed Chris. Also, I like Steven Curtis Chapman -- ever since I was like 10.
Posted by
John D. | Tuesday 08 November 2005 1:53AM


I found it interesting that my conservative Republican parents were both supporting Doghertery. Partially because they are artists (DeBilieo's apocryphal* "Scranton is too artsy" comment didn't help him any), and partially becuase they are truly concerned with the economic future of Scranton. Which meant only one choice in this campaign.

But all of this is somewhat moot as neither I nor my parents live in Scranton.

*apocryphal as in "I can't find a written record to support this, so I'll have to trust the un-named weekly newspaper editor who said this to me."

Posted by the Other michael | Friday 11 November 2005 11:08AM


I didn't hear about the "Scranton is too artsy" remark. But for some reason, it wouldn't surprise me.
Posted by Chloe | Friday 11 November 2005 4:15PM


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