Wednesday’s Religion News Roundup: Mitt’s Mormonism; pastor wants to imprison gays; monkeys & meditation

Will Mormonism hurt Mitt Romney? What the pope has been telling American bishops. N.C. pastor wants imprison gays and lesbians. Miley Cyrus takes up meditation. 

Negative stereotypes of Mormonism hurt Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2008 and may do so again in 2012, according to a new study. 

The issue is not whether Romney is open about his faith. “It is that his Mormon faith, in particular, makes many people uneasy. And that unease has political consequences,” said John Green of Akron U, one of the best in the biz when it comes religion and politics.

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah is penning an “tell all” book about his Mormon faith

WaPo catches up with Derrick Harkins, head of faith outreach for the DNC, who's had a rough couple of weeks. 

Black Mormons have a political choice like no other during this campaign, the NYT reports. 

Pope Benedict XVI has been giving American bishops an earful on their ad limina visits, lecturing them on sexual abuse, dissent within the church, America's “anti-Christian” culture, religious freedom, Catholic politicians, gay marriage, Catholic colleges and American nuns.  

Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., might have missed the memo, as he tells America mag that he has some “concerns” with the Catholic lawsuits against the HHS contraception mandate. 

Gallup finds that 82 percent of U.S. Catholics say birth control is morally acceptable, nearing the 90% of non-Catholics who agree.

OTOH, 41% of Americans now identify themselves as “pro-choice,” down from 47% last July and one percentage point below the record low.

A broad coalition of religious groups is backing new guidelines to help schools tell the difference between bullying and free speech. 

Wherever that line is, North Carolina Pastor Charles Worley, who sermonized that gays should be rounded up in pens so they “die out,” has crossed it, say LGBT activists. 

Jeffrey Weiss watches the Family Research Council's video “The Problem with Same-sex Marriage: How It Will Affect You and Your Children,” and finds it illogical. 

The AP got hold of a huge cache of secret documents from the Franciscans that paint a depressing picture of “pervasive culture of abuse.”

A Florida jury has found the state Baptist Convention liable for sexual abuse committed by a pastor it had supported financially.

Reuters looks at how an estimated 3,000 Muslim athletes will handle the coinciding of Ramadan and the Olympics, which begin July 27, a week into the month-long Muslim fast.

Residents in New Dehli, India want to get the monkeys off their backs. Or at least off their streets. But people keep feeding the monkeys because of Hindu traditions

The protagonist in director Paul Thomas Anderson's forthcoming film is reportedly modeled on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard

Zach Galifianakis will play Ignatius J. Reilly in the long-awaited movie adaptation of “Confederacy of Dunces.”

Miley Cyrus is tired of being cool and has taken up meditation. 

Yr hmbl aggrgtr,

Daniel Burke 

Image courtesy of “Miley's Meditation.”