Religious labels matter less in 2012 campaign

(RNS) There aren't any white Protestants on the presidential ballot this year — a first in American history. It's a situation that probably would have baffled famous evangelicals such as the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. By Bob Smietana.

COMMENTARY: Of Protestants, politicians and power

(RNS) It would be an error to underestimate or write off the Protestant influence in the American political arena. But with the rapid demographic and sociological changes now underway, get ready for Hindus, Jews, Hispanics, Buddhists, Muslims, gays, women, atheists and many other groups to head up future presidential tickets. By A. James Rudin.

RNS photo by Gregory A. Shemitz

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s GOP convention blessing prompts debate

(RNS) The news that New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the nation’s most prominent Catholic prelate, will deliver the closing blessing to the Republican National Convention in Florida next week was seen as a huge coup for Mitt Romney, the presumptive nominee. But the move has promoted a sharp debate within the church over the increasingly close ties between leading bishops and the GOP. By David Gibson.

Why Ayn Rand is Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher and a problem for some Christians

“You've got a guy who is a rising Republican star, and who wrote the budget, saying he's read her books and Washington needs more of her values,” said Eric Sapp, executive director of the American Values Network, which is trying to tie Paul Ryan to atheist philosopher Ayn Rand. “If you're a Christian, you've got to ask some serious questions about what's going on here.”

Catholic bishops say Ryan budget fails moral test

WASHINGTON (RNS) A week after Republican congressman Paul Ryan claimed his Catholic faith inspired the cost-cutting budget plan passed by the House, the nation’s Catholic bishops reiterated their demands that the budget protect the poor and said the GOP measure “fails to meet these moral criteria.” By David Gibson.