Justice, Poverty, and Sandy

The immediate response to crisis, any crisis, has to be immediate, un-mediated compassion.  Yet we are getting to the point where we have to ask some difficult moral questions from our own selves in light of Sandy.

COMMENTARY: We can do better

(RNS) We have seen ourselves up close and decided we can do better. Pouring a lifetime of earnings into showy living becomes embarrassing. Turning religion into shouting matches and rampant bigotry doesn't pass any gospel sniff test. By Tom Ehrich.

RNS photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Mormons, GOP didn’t always get along so well

WASHINGTON (RNS) As Mitt Romney presses his White House bid, many Americans don't realize that his Mormon faith played an important role as foil in the early days of the GOP, and how its first candidates won by whipping up anti-Mormon sentiments. By Thomas Burr.

Photo courtesy Brett Davis/Flickr.

Mainline Protestants up for grabs heading into November

WASHINGTON (RNS) In a matchup between Obama and GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, mainline Protestant voters are nearly evenly divided, with 41 percent supporting Obama and 43 percent for Romney. The same holds true between Obama and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — each is the choice of 41 percent of white mainline Protestants. By Lauren Markoe.

Why Mitt Romney can’t be the Mormon JFK

By talking about his Mormonism, Mitt Romney would call attention to his Mormonism. Politically speaking, that's a huge risk. Many Americans, and Republicans in particular, tend to consider Mormonism a “cult” — or “super spooky-wooky!” as Broadway's hit musical, The Book of Mormon, puts it.

Poll: Preachy politicians turn off many voters

(RNS) So all that “God talk” from the GOP candidates as they try to show who is more devout? A new survey shows that it may be more likely to hurt their chances with voters as help them. By David Gibson. 400 words.

The President as Pastor

It was, I’m afraid, a classic example of Freudian denial when, back in 2007, the dean of Bob Jones University endorsed Mitt Romney as the GOP presidential nominee with the phrase, “we’re not electing a pastor–we’re electing a president.” The phrase, which became something of a commonplace among Romney’s backers on the religious right, pointed to the fact that during the presidency of George W. Bush evangelicals did indeed come to view the president as pastor-in-chief. Remember that scene in the 2006 documentary “Jesus Camp” where the children do spiritual warfare before a cardboard cutout of President Bush? By then evangelicals had become accustomed to referring to him as “our Christian president,” and the hope was that he would not be the last of his kind.And that’s where the anti-Mormon rubber hits the road. It really does bother a lot of evangelicals that the occupant of the White House should manifest the spiritual potency of the office on behalf of a religion they consider beyond the pale.

Anti-Mormonism 2012, take 1

It’s possible that the overt anti-Mormonism expressed by Robert Jeffress and Bryan Fischer represents little more than frantic concern among the evangelical elite that the Republican nomination is in imminent danger of slipping into the hands of a heretic. As Sarah Posner pointed out over the weekend, last time around the anti-Mormonism was more discreet. When you’ve got the likes of Pat Robertson willing to accept Mitt Romney as the party’s Christian standard-bearer, it’s no wonder that the more excitable Christian Americanists find themselves on the anxious bench. In these economic hard times, the rank and file are going to be more concerned with choosing the candidate most likely to defeat Barack Obama, no?Not likely. A few months ago, the Pew Research Center’s Carroll Doherty pointed out that white evangelicals are just as loath to vote for a Mormon now as they were back in 2007.