Dallas Goes Against the Establishments

The Dallas Morning News endorses Huckabee and Obama. When the biggest journalistic voice in Texas decides it’s time for both parties to turn the page, it’s worth taking note. On Huck’s religion the money quote is: His religious conservatism, particularly his past rhetoric on women and gays, can be alarming. But religious conservatives aren’t easily pigeonholed. A liberal Arkansas professor told The New York Times Magazine that Mr. Huckabee was a good governor.


A few days ago, Mike Huckabee told David Brody, There is a level of elitism that has existed, the chattering class if you will who lives in that corridor between Washington and Wall Street and they sort of live in their protected world, and frankly for a number of years many of them thought of people like me – whether it was because we were evangelicals or because maybe we were out from the middle of America. They were polite to us. They were more than happy for us to come to the rallies and stand in lines for hours to cheer on the candidates, appreciated us putting up the yard signs, going out and putting out the cards on peoples doors and making phone calls to the phone banks and – really appreciated all of our votes. But when they got elected, behind closed doors, they would laugh at us and speak with scorn and derision that we were, as one article I think once said “the easily led.” So there’s been almost this sort of, it’s okay if you guys get a seat on the bus, but don’t ever think about telling us where the bus is going to go.Clearly, it’s the conservative pundits who have been freaking out about his rise to poll preeminence that Huck has in mind here.

Roma’s Tony

Tony Blair finally took the Catholic plunge on Friday, just in time for Christmas. (Remember where you heard it first.)

Blair Converts to Catholicism

Across the pond, former PM Tony Blair officially converted to Catholicism on Friday. Blair had been a member of the Church of England during his years on Downing Street. He “told the BBC this year that he had avoided talking about his religious views while in office for about 10 years for fear of being labeled “a nutter.” CNN went on later to say that “Britons often are surprised by people who openly and fervently discuss their religious views, and the degree to which faiths such as evangelicalism can influence U.S. politics.” Any thoughts on this cultural difference?

Video: Christmas Campaign Ads

As both Christmas and the primaries near, the candidates are each crafting their own holiday messages to the voters. Mike Huckabee caused quite a stir with his “What Really Matters”, floating cross video. However, the other campaigns’ ads are not to be ignored for the way they choose to integrate Christmas with politics. Here are some of the more notable ads;
Barack Obama:
John Edwards:
Hillary Clinton:
A Similar Theme from Rudy:
John McCain’s which is very similar to Huck’s:

Faith In America’s Voters

The Weekly Standard’s Christopher Caldwell tells the readers of the Financial Times here why he believes religion appears to matter more in this race than before.


Does the discovery that Mitt Romney only metaphorically “saw” his father march with Martin Luther King, Jr.–and that George Romney maybe only “marched” with King–give the lie to Mitt’s whole account of his feelings about the LDS Church’s 1978 change of position on admission of blacks to full membership in the church? As someone who was moved by the account, I’d say not entirely; but it does give the fib to it. As summarized by Michael Luo in today’s New York Times, the controversy points to a certain proclivity on the candidate’s part to stretch facts for the sake of, ah, the greater truth. But God is in the details, and it’s the details–like the weeping by the side of Fresh Pond Parkway–that make the case for greater truths. And when the former are called into question, the case for the latter is weakened–as are all future cases that the teller may wish to make by way of telling details.

Muslim couple reflects on journey of a lifetime

c. 2007 Religion News Service SYRACUSE, N.Y. _ As millions of Muslims performed hajj rituals in Saudi Arabia this month, Saad and Fatima Sahraoui have been with them in spirit. In 2000, the Syracuse couple made the pilgrimage, or hajj, to Mecca, the birthplace of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. The memories remain powerful. “People describe it to you but there’s really no way to prepare.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2007 Religion News Service Trappist monks to halt egg production after PETA protests (RNS) A Trappist abbey in South Carolina said Wednesday (Dec. 19) that it will end its egg production business after accusations of animal cruelty by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “While the monks are sad to give up work that has sustained them for many years … the pressure from PETA has made it difficult for them to live their quiet life of prayer, work and sacred reading,” said the Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, S.C., in a statement.

Questions About Thompson’s Methodist Math

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette says GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson overstated the extent of support he has received from members of the Wesleyan/Methodist movement. The former senator, in a Dec. 14 announcement, said he received the endorsement from “two men who represent 40 million people around the nation from 42 different Wesleyan denominations.” But the newspaper noted that the math was a bit off, with reporter Frank Lockwood stating that the religious leaders “represent a group closer to the size of West Memphis, not the state of California.” One of those men, the Rev. Benny Tate, the vice president of the Congregational Methodist Church told the paper his conservative Wesleyan denomination has 26,000 to 27,000 members.

Theme and Logo for Pope’s Trip Announced

I knew that papal visits usually had a theme, but a logo? The pope is coming to visit New York and Washington April 15-20. Anyway the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has released both the theme and the logo this week. Theme: Christ our Hope, a reflection of Pope Benedict’s latest encyclical “Spe Salvi.” Logo is here: http://www.uspapalvisit.org/mediakit/ Logo designer Donna Hobson, director of publications at The Catholic University of America explained her goal with this design.

Bush gets “cold feet” on Vatican appointment?

The American Spectator says that Democratic senators are blocking the nomination of prominent “theocon” Mary Ann Glendon as U.S. envoy to the Vatican, and that the White House may be getting “cold feet” on the appointment. CORRECTION: As subsequently noted by another news service’s blog, this post appeared after Glendon’s Senate confirmation. Since the source cited above was published one day before the Senate voted, blame for the error lies entirely with this blogger.


Turns out CBN’s national political correspondent has a sense of humor.

In the Churches

The Boston Globe’s Lisa Wangsness does a nice job getting a fix on evangelicals in New Hampshire (and New England generally), thanks in no small part to our own Andrew Walsh. Good quotes, Andrew! Credit also to the Huffington Post’s OffTheBus folks for fanning out to 30 Iowa congregations to see how the churchfolk are feeling about the campaign. Unfortunately, however, HP’s “citizen journalists” don’t bring much of a sense of religious differentiation to the table, so we get no Catholics, one Mainline Protestant, and a lot evangelicals representing “the churches.”