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More than 90 evangelical leaders met in Denver Tuesday, July 1, and decided to support Sen. John McCain as the presidential candidate who most shares their values.

Attendees agreed that they are concerned about issues like immigration and gun rights, but determined that opposing abortion and gay marriage are so central that they have no choice but to support McCain.

"He would advance those values in a much more significant way than Sen. Barack Obama who, in our view, would decimate those values," said Mathew Staver, dean of Liberty University's law school, who spearheaded the meeting.

Those in attendance also reached a consensus that they would send a letter to McCain, R-Ariz., encouraging him to consider former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as his choice for vice president.

"It's not a demand; it's a request," said Staver, who couldn't say when McCain would be contacted about Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist pastor who resonated with some evangelical voters during the Republican primaries.

The meeting featured conservative Christians from various sectors of evangelicalism, including African-Americans, Hispanics and younger evangelicals. Tim and Beverly LaHaye, the couple known respectively for their roles in the Left Behind book series and Concerned Women for America, were there, as were Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, former Christian Coalition president Don Hodel, and Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, an Ohio organization affiliated with Focus on the Family.

But one person who was not invited was one of the movement's most prominent voices, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, who recently blasted Obama's politics and his theology, and has previously said he would not vote for McCain.

"I didn't ...

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Evangelical Leaders to Support McCain
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