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Quick Read - Faith & Politics

Time to Raise Minimum Wage?

Over at The Atlantic, Jordan Weissmann asks whether it is time to raise the minimum wage:

One of the harshest realities of America's slow economic recovery -- and there are many -- is the fact in spite of modest job growth, pay for workers is falling. Year over year, average inflation adjusted wages have dropped by 0.6 percent for all private sector employees. They're down a full 1 percent for non-supervisors -- your retail salespeople, your shop floor factory workers, your cashiers. In other words, even as the overall employment picture has improved in fits and starts, the working poor are getting poorer. 

Read the full article here

 

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Are Faith-Based Initiatives a 'Failure'?

Sarah Posner critiques faith-based initiatives in an article on Salon.com:

“Compassionate conservatism” may seem a relic of the Bush era, but one of its signatures — the so-called faith-based initiatives — quietly persist under President Obama.

Read the full article here

 

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Keeping 'Above the Fray' in Religion and Politics

In The Washington Post, Lisa Miller profiles religion and politics commentator Mark Silk:

Mark Silk is a medievalist by training, and a professor at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. But what he really does, on his blog Spiritual Politics, which runs on the Web site of the Religion News Service, is to scan the religion-politics landscape and make a single shrewd observation every day.

Read the full profile here

 

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Former Bush Advisers Take Prominent Roles in Romney Campaign

Over at Salon.comJordan Michael Smith tells us, 'The Bushies Are Back':

Republicans lost their popularity on security issues for one reason: George W. Bush’s foreign policy was a disaster. And yet, the party’s nominee, Mitt Romney, has assembled a foreign-policy team composed almost exclusively of individuals with the same war-always mentality and ideology that served Bush — and the United States — so poorly. In some cases, the exact same men responsible for Bush’s catastrophic national security policies are advising Romney.

Read Smith's full article here

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Daily Show Appearance Has Viewers Asking, "Who Is David Barton?"

For CNN's Belief BlogDan Gilgoff writes:

A longtime star on the conservative Christian circuit, controversial evangelical historian David Barton is today the No. 1 trending topic on Google. The online surge comes on the heels of Barton’s appearance on The Daily Show on Tuesday night.

To learn more, read the full article here

 

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National Day of Prayer Marked with Prayer... and Protest

 

As reported by Cathy Lynn Grossman for USA Today

The annual National Day of Prayer, mandated by Congress in 1952, is upon us and the usual folks are out with proclamations, prayers -- and protests. President Obama issued his annual proclamation on Monday, making special mention of prayers for the military as befitted his surprise visit to Afghanistan.

Read the full article here

 

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DC Pastor on the Politics of Faith in Government

DC-based pastor and former Sojourners staff member, Rev. Aaron Graham unpacks what it means to have faith and serve in government for The Washington Post:

It breaks my heart today to see how often politics shapes our faith, rather than faith shaping our politics. Over the years the church in America has become so biblically illiterate that we are often being more influenced by cultural and political trends than we are by the Word of God.

Read his full article here

 

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Kirsten Powers Confronts Misogynist Pastor Face-to-Face on FoxNews

http://youtu.be/A-0p3tHVx3U

FoxNews contributor (and friend of Sojourners) Kirsten Powers has been outspoken in her criticism of the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, a frequent guest and friend of Fox's Sean Hannity.

On March 5, Peterson took to the airways on his "Exploring Your Destiny with Jesse Lee Peterson" program and delivered a message/sermon titled, "How Most Women Are Building a Shameless Society." Powers, a Democtrat who also happens to be an evangelical Christian, began posting a litany of tweets on Twitter castigating Peterson for his blatant misogyny.

(Read a piece by Sojourners' staff writers Nicole Higgins and James Colten taking Peterson to task HERE.)

On Tuesday, Powers took the opportunity -- on the air during Hannity's show on which she is also a frequent guest -- to confront Peterson face-to-face.

You go, girl.

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Fischer Says Gay Romney Spokesman Resignation "Good News"

Business Insider reported last night:

"I think it's probably going to be a long time before Gov. Romney hires another homosexual activist to a prominent position in his campaign," Fischer said. "And that's good news if you're in the pro-family community."

Read the whole story here

 

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Is There a Link Between Compassion and Religiosity?

NPR reports on a University of California, Berkeley study:

Are religious people more moved by compassion than those who described themselves as less religious or non-religious?
 
Read the whole article here

 

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Census Shows 'Independent Evangelicals' One of the Largest Religious Groups in U.S.

Chicago Tribune religion reporter Manya Brachear reports:

Counted together, independent evangelical congregations comprise one of the largest religious groups in the nation, after their evangelical compadres in the Southern Baptist Convention and the biggest group, Roman Catholics.

Read the full story here

 

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Obama's Proclamation for Today's National Day of Prayer

President Obama on today's National Day of Prayer, from the White House:

Prayer has always been a part of the American story, and today countless Americans rely on prayer for comfort, direction, and strength, praying not only for themselves, but for their communities, their country, and the world.

On this National Day of Prayer, we give thanks for our democracy that respects the beliefs and protects the religious freedom of all people to pray, worship, or abstain according to the dictates of their conscience. Let us pray for all the citizens of our great Nation, particularly those who are sick, mourning, or without hope, and ask God for the sustenance to meet the challenges we face as a Nation. May we embrace the responsibility we have to each other, and rely on the better angels of our nature in service to one another. Let us be humble in our convictions, and courageous in our virtue. Let us pray for those who are suffering around the world, and let us be open to opportunities to ease that suffering.


Let us also pay tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces who have answered our country's call to serve with honor in the pursuit of peace. Our grateful Nation is humbled by the sacrifices made to protect and defend our security and freedom. Let us pray for the continued strength and safety of our service members and their families. While we pause to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending liberty, let us remember and lend our voices to the principles for which they fought -- unity, human dignity, and the pursuit of justice.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 3, 2012, as a National Day of Prayer. I invite all citizens of our Nation, as their own faith directs them, to join me in giving thanks for the many blessings we enjoy, and I call upon individuals of all faiths to pray for guidance, grace, and protection for our great Nation as we address the challenges of our time.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

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Gallup Poll: 'Very Religious' Support Romney, 'Moderate' and 'Non-Religious' Favor Obama

In the 2012 race for the presidency, religious voters will continue to be watched closely.

According to Gallup’s latest poll, Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama by 17 points among “very religious voters.” These voters are those who attend religious services on a weekly basis (or nearly every week), and are estimated to constitute 41 percent of registered voters.

On the other hand, the report shows that Barack Obama has a 14 point lead among “moderately religious voters” and a 31 point lead among “non-religious voters.”

But this really isn’t anything new. Gallup reports that these findings “reinforce a basic pattern in American voting behavior that has been evident for decades.” The highly religious favor the Republican, the not-quite-as-religious favor the Democrat. This also confirms previous Gallup findings in their "state of the state" report, last month.

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Support Increasing for Gun Rights, Same-Sex Marriage

Attitudes on two controversial issues are shifting. There is more support for both gun rights and gay marriage in this election cycle than in the previous two, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Forty-seven percent support legal same-sex marriage, while 43 percent are opposed. Younger adults favor gay marriage by a 65 percent to 30 percent split.

The gun rights issue is equally split, with 49 percent saying it is more important to protect gun rights and 45 percent saying gun control is more important. The largest shift has been among African Americans, which represent a 13-point increase in favor of gun rights. 

View the full survey results HERE.

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Millennials Find Distinction Between Personal Morality and Common Good

College-aged adults are not letting their moral beliefs on social issues filter into their politics.

According to the just released “Millennial Values Survey” by the Public Religion Research Institute and Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University, adults age 18-24 are much less likely than their parents to cite social issues like abortion (22 percent) or same-sex marriage (22 percent) as critical.

While the group is split on social issues personally, they don't factor into the political reality. For example, while 51 percent believe abortion is morally wrong, 59 percent believe access to abortion should be legal. Likewise, 48 percent believe sex between members of the same gender is morally wrong, but 59 percent favor allowing same-sex couples to legally marry.

The gap is also evident in their religious affiliation. The percent of religiously unaffiliated jumped from 11 percent in childhood to 25 percent now.

Their attitudes toward Christianity paint a picture of possible motives behind the shift. Two-thirds say that Christianity can be described as “anti-gay,” and 62 percent believe present-day Christianity is “judgmental.”

The full survey will be released this morning at Georgetown University. Check back with Sojourners for more coverage of the findings.

Sandi Villarreal is Associate Web Editor for Sojourners. Follow Sandi on Twitter @Sandi.

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