Stephen Baldwin: Preacher Man

Photo by flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmcphotos/120054575/">CMCentral</a> used under a <a href="http://www.creativecommons.org">Creative Commons</a> license.

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Actor and famous brother Stephen Baldwin has been on the stump of late trying to rally up the under-25 crowd for conservatives. He appeared last week at the big 9/12 march in DC,  and on Friday afternoon he was one of the big names at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit. Troubled by the fact that Obama overwhelmingly won the youth vote, conservatives seem to be pinning their hopes on people like Baldwin and Carrie Prejean to broaden their appeal to the next generation. But if Baldwin is the best celebrity they can come up with, their movement is in big trouble.

Baldwin, who became a born-again Christian after the 9/11 attacks, runs an extreme-sports ministry that brought God to arenas and other such sacred venues. He also co-hosts a popular talk radio show. At the summit, Baldwin appeared with his show’s co-host Kevin McCullough to heavy applause from the gathered faithful. Baldwin acknowledged the warm welcome with many “amens” and then explained how he liked to turn these things “over to the Lord.”

Without any irony, Baldwin lamented the impact that Hollywood has had on youth culture, perhaps thinking about his first film, The Beast, or his 2007 appearance on “Ty Murray’s Bull Riding Challenge.” Apparently Baldwin has hopes of returning America to the country of his youth, when people really believed in the American dream. (Lots of the Values Voters speakers have used this kind of restoration language.) The only way to recover this lost dream, according to Baldwin, is with “the spirit of the Lord.” Baldwin’s spiel was heavy on faith, light on politics. In fact, far from rallying a political movement, Baldwin seemed to be practicing his next sermon. And when it comes to preaching, Baldwin is no Mike Huckabee. One snippet:

“The American dream is the same thing as believing in things we cannot see. We need to be in the place in our experience in that dynamic that allows the spirit of the Lord that allows us to do it through us.”

Coming from a guy who recently ended up in the hospital suffering from life-threatening bug bites he got on “I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!” it was a bit hard to follow. Nonetheless, the still-studly Baldwin—who once wrote a song called “My 18-inch Biceps”—will be rocking out with all the young conservatives here in the far reaches of the Omni Shoreham later tonight.

 

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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