Jeb Bush courts religious right

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush may be laying the groundwork for a 2016 presidential run as he met this week with a top evangelical leader who could help him win votes from the religious right, according to reports.

Bush, a Roman Catholic, sat down with Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's policy branch known as the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, at his Miami office on Friday, CNN reported. 

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The Washington Post reported last month that the two were planning on meeting.

"We'll talk about the concerns of evangelicals," Moore told The Post at the time. "He is a good man, and I am not surprised there is a lot of conversation about him."

Moore is often seen on television and at theological conferences.

While Moore has said he will not endorse any presidential candidates in 2016, a meeting with Bush could serve as an opportunity to influence many of the 16 million members of the Southern Baptist Convention that Moore represents. 

It could also give Moore a chance to vet Bush and discuss some of his policy beliefs. 

No details emerged from Friday's meeting, but it is expected that Bush and Moore discussed immigration reform, an issue they are both passionate about.

Bush discussed immigration last month when he seemed to take a softer approach than many other conservatives on the issue.

"Yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony," Bush said at a speech in Texas. "It's an act of love. It's an act of commitment to your family."

Moore has also commented on the issue. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed that he wrote with Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, he called for Congress to act on immigration reform.

“The immigrant community is brimming with hard-working, entrepreneurial, family-oriented men and women who yearn for freedom,” They wrote. “Others violate our laws, committing crime and living off the system. As Christians and conservatives, we have had to ask ourselves how to move forward.”

“We also must remember that every individual is created in the image of God and precious in his sight,” they added.

 

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