President Bush said today that his faith helped beat his alcohol problem. Bush speaking to a faith based program aimed at reforming inmates said, “I understand faith-based programs. I understand that sometimes you can find the inspiration from a higher power to solve an addiction problem.”
At least that’s the case in South Carolina, according to new complaints by the folks over at Faith in Public Life. Following up on earlier complaints that exit pollsters were only asking Republicans-but not Democrats-if they were evangelicals, it seems nothing changed in the recent South Carolina primaries. Faith in Public Life tells us that “Republican SC primary voters were asked if they were Protestant, Catholic, LDS, Jewish, Muslim, etc., how often they attend religious services, if they would describe themselves as born-again of evangelical Christians, and how much it matters to them that a candidate shares their religious beliefs. Dem primary voters were asked only about frequency of religious service attendance.” The explanation from the National Explanation Pool (again, via Faith in Public Life) is that “We have limited real estate on our questionnaires.
After the big-name endorsements from religious circles last year for a range of GOP candidates, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is continuing to add to his list with lesser-known faith leaders. In an announcement on Saturday, Floridians such as John Stemberger of Florida Family Action and Janet Folger of Faith2Action said he is their choice. Also on the list is Becky Hunter, wife of Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter, who Huckabee said earlier this month was backing him. And in other religion-related endorsements this month, Sen. John McCain picked up the endorsement of National Right to Life Committee Co-founder Dr. Carolyn Gerster and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani won the backing of Tony Gelbart, co-founder of Nefesh B’NeFesh, an organization that encourages Jews to immigrate to Israel. Here are some past endorsements we’ve noted: For former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani -Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson -Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson For former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney: -Conservative leader Paul Weyrich -Bob Jones III, chancellor of Bob Jones University For Sen. John McCain: -Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas For former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee: -American Family Association Founder Donald Wildmon -Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Daniel Akin -Former Southern Baptist Presidents Jimmy Draper, Jack Graham and Jerry Vines -Charisma magazine founder Stephen Strang -Vision America president Rick Scarborough -Liberty Counsel founder Mathew Staver -“Left Behind” series co-author Jerry Jenkins -Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. -“Left Behind” series co-author Tim LaHaye -Beverly LaHaye, founder of Concerned Women for America
c. 2008 Religion News Service PORTLAND, Ore. _ The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that a divorced couple’s bitter dispute whether to circumcise their 12-year-old son cannot be resolved without first deciding what the boy wants. The Supreme Court on Friday (Jan. 25) sent the case back to a trial judge to determine whether James Boldt, who converted to Judaism, should be able to circumcise his son against the wishes of his ex-wife Lia, a member of the Russian Orthodox Church.
c. 2008 Religion News Service Pope calls for consistency in annulments VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI called for greater consistency in the granting of annulments, suggesting that Catholic church authorities in some countries have been too lax in declaring marriages void. Benedict made his remarks on Saturday (Jan. 26) to members of the Roman Rota, the highest church panel with authority in marriage cases, at a ceremony marking the start of the judicial year. Warning against “subjective and arbitrary interpretations” of church law governing marriage, the pope insisted that the “same general principles and norms of justice must be applied” in all cases.
c. 2008 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ With primaries or caucuses in 24 states, the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday primary could very well produce the next presidential nominee for both major parties _ but how much of a factor will religion be? Super Tuesday will test a candidate’s appeal to evangelical strongholds in the Bible Belt, Roman Catholic bastions in the Northeast and Midwest, as well as pockets of religious minorities on both coasts. “It’s about as close to a national primary as we’ve ever had,” said John C. Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was credited with creating a more global, more visible church, died Sunday (Jan. 27) at age 97. Church officials in Salt Lake City said Hinckley died at 7 p.m. at his apartment of causes “incident to age.” Known for expanding the Mormon faith throughout the world, Hinckley personally brought his church’s message to some 60 countries total and oversaw the construction of a string of new temples around the world where the most sacred rituals in Mormon life could be practiced. When he died, the Mormon Church counted close to 13 million members in 171 nations and territories.
As this American Anglican website shows, religious conservatives continue to be drawn to Obama. Obviously they know that he’s pro-choice and in favor of civil unions (if not same-sex marriage). But they sense in him a moral seriousness and a spiritual authenticity that’s hard for them to resist–or perhaps, that they don’t want to resist.
To bring things up to date (see earlier post) on that Focus on the Family video in which Tom Minnery expresses his appreciation for Romney’s “acknowledging” that “Mormonism is not a Christian faith”: The AP’s Rachel Zoll got on the story right away, and learned from Minnery that he had come to that conclusion based on Romney’s December speech on faith and public life, in which the presidential aspirant stated, “There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. My church’s beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history.”
OK, so the Washington Post’s Joel Aschenbach doesn’t deal in profundities, but how do you do a little profile on the Hope, Ark. that both Billy Clinton and Mike Huckabee came from, and write a sentence like this–“Anyone on the Huckabee trail in Hope has to pay a visit to a local dentist, Lester Sitzes III.–and not manage to pay a visit to, or say a word about, the church he grew up in? I mean, he’s the first Baptist pastor running for president, no? I say this knowing that I sound like GetReligion’s Terry Mattingly, but still…
Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th President/Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day, died on Sunday, January 27, 2008. He was 97 years old. For 73 of those years he worked full-time for the church over which he would come to preside in 1995. Although he only served as church president for a dozen years, from the time he was called into the church’s “First Presidency” in 1981 forward, Hinckley was the principal LDS administrative figure, the face Mormonism presented to the world. Even during the presidential terms of Prophet/Presidents Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, and Howard W. Hunter, Hinckley’s influence was incalculable.
Deacon Keith Fournier gives us a Catholic and former Democrat’s perspective on Mike Huckabee. Fournier has had it with Republican attacks on the Huckster. Dismissing criticisms that Huckabee is a one trick evangelical pony, Fournier highlights Huck’s strengths with a comparison to David and Goliath. Fournier: “Oh, I know, the new line of he media is that his campaign is “running out of money”. You hear it from the chattering class.
This from John Green:
Let me hazard an answer to Mark’s puzzlement about Mike Huckabee’s well-documented fundraising woes. Several factors are worth considering. It could be, as Mark suggests, that some wealthy Republican donors have been put off by the candidate’s populist stands on economic issues. Likewise, stalwart conservative contributors may dislike his political heterodoxy. Certainly Huckabee has received extensive criticism from all manner of Republican and conservative leaders.