The Common Good

Election Commentary

Mormons, GOP Didn’t Always Get Along So Well

WASHINGTON — The founders of the Republican Party saw Mormons as their enemies. And the first Mormon leaders didn't have much nice to say about the GOP, either.

You would never know it now — one recent poll showed three-quarters of Mormon faithful lean toward the GOP — but the two groups had an acrimonious start, fueled largely by the early Mormon practice of polygamy.

As Mitt Romney presses his bid for the Republican nomination for president, many Americans don't realize how his Mormon faith played an important role as foil in the early days of the GOP — and how its first candidates catapulted to power in part by whipping up anti-Mormon sentiments.

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Race Down to the Wire, GOP Goes Musical

The unofficial results are in and it looks like former governor Mitt Romney won the Michigan primary with 41 percent of the vote. Many commentators believe that this win indicates a recovery of momentum for the Romney campaign.

There are now unconfirmed reports that building off the popularity of President Obama’s rendition of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” Mitt Romney has been working on a cover of Katy Perry’s "Hot n’ Cold" to sing for GOP primary voters.

Not to be outdone, Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul pull a few tricks from their sleeves too.

 

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Santorum Is Not Romney's Only Problem in Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Mitt Romney’s position on the Detroit auto bailout and health care plan have been blasted, but a pollster suggests one issue not often discussed on the campaign trail this year could end up costing him Tuesday's Michigan primary victory: his Mormon faith.

EPIC-MRA pollster Bernie Porn said the former Massachusetts governor’s faith hasn’t been as big of a topic as it was when he sought the nomination in 2008.

But Porn said on WGVU’s “West Michigan Week” that his polls show that 7 percent of the Republicans tallied said they wouldn’t vote for Romney because he is a Mormon – and the actual number might be higher.

With a race that could be decided by less than 5 percent, that could be a problem for Romney, he said.

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How (Not) to Judge a Christian

Graham's thinking is dangerous. What he has failed to realize is that he, like many, is guilty of having a biased, preconceived "kind" of Christian and “brand” of Christianity. Often, these preconceptions fall along partisan lines. This was seen clearly in his willingness to affirm the Christian faith of candidates that share his political viewpoint (Gingrich, Santorum), but open the door for speculation on those (Obama, Romney) who do not. We can never forget that Jesus never demanded a “one size fits all” kind of faith. We must always allow room for disagreement and live with the tension of multiple opinions.

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Defining "Evangelical" and Other Unsolved Mysteries

As someone who self-identifies as an evangelical Christian, often I begin to feel like the subject of a Discovery Channel documentary, particularly in the midst of a heated presidential election cycle.

It’s Evangelical Week here on Discovery! Travel with us as our explorers track the elusive evangelical in its native habitats. Watch as evangelicals worship, work and play, all captured on film with the latest high definition technology. And follow our intrepid documentary team members as they bravely venture into the most dangerous of exotic evangelical locations — the voting booth!

I understand the interest in us evangelicals, I really do. The way much of the mainstream media covers our communities in the news can make us seem like a puzzling subspecies of the American population, not unlike the Rocky Mountain long-haired yeti. 

Are we really that difficult to comprehend?

In a word, yes.

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The Friday News: January 6, 2012

Evangelicalism's Changing Heart On Immigration, Congress, White House Cut Heating Assistance Just In Time For Winter, Unemployment Rate Key To 2012 Election, College Kids Vow To End Slavery, The 23 Best Countries For Work-Life Balance (We Are Number 23), Rick Santorum’s God And Gays Message Falls Flat In New Hampshire.

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The Afternoon News: Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012

Huffington Post: An Interview with United States 39th President Jimmy Carter, Religion News Service: Romney’s Evangelical Problem Starts with Theology, Huffington Post: On Scripture: Mark 1:4-11: Does Baptism Make for Better Presidents?, Huffington Post: Obama Fails on Minimum Wage Pledge, Slate: NAACP Condemns Rick Santorum’s “Black People” Gaffe, TPM: Defense Secretary Panetta: Defense Cuts Come With ‘Additional But Acceptable Risk’, CNN: Controversial Catholic program for gays begins in Connecticut, CNN: What happens when candidates called by God drop out?

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Mitt Romney Uses KKK Catchphrase

The Washington Post reports:

Someone didn’t do his research.

On Tuesday, political commenters reported that GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney has been using a catchphrase in his stump speeches that the Ku Klux Klan favored in the 1920s.

When the white supremacist group used “Keep America American,” it was to rally people against blacks American, gay people, Catholics and Jews. When Romney’s used it, as he did in this Los Angeles Times piece, it was to promise that as president he would “keep America American with the principles that made us the greatest nation on Earth.”

Romney’s isn’t the first campaign mishap that came out of a borrowed slogan. While a candidate’s political slogan can be key to an effective campaign — as President Obama’s “Yes We Can” slogan was — many politicians have shown by example how precarious slogans can be if you don’t do your research.

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The Morning News: Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011

Why Are American Politicians Always Switching Religions?; What It Means To Be A Liberal Person Of Faith; Home From Iraq, Veterans Seen as Perfect Candidates for Green Jobs; Bush Aide Finds Forgiveness And A Second Career; Canada Pulls Out Of Kyoto Protocol; Child Homelessness Reportedly Climbed 33 Percent In Past 3 Years.

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Evangelical Consistency and the 2012 Elections

Unfortunately, many people who go to church on Sunday are more influenced by what they see on cable TV than by the Bible. I hear that lament from pastors all the time. Too many of their congregant’s political priorities are determined by a party or ideology – not the Word of God. Their identities are shaped by marketing and media campaigns that manufacture a view of the world in order to maximize their own power and profit.

The antidote is simple. Christians need to read their Bibles more. It makes a difference.

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The Morning News: Monday, Nov. 28, 2011

Policy-Making Billionaires, Poverty In The Midst Of Plenty: Hunger Persists In The United States; The Religion Of An Increasingly Godless America (OPINION); Evangelicals Flocking Toward Newt Gingrich; Rev. Jackson Calls For New War On Poverty; Improving Social Justice Indicators Will Create A Better U.S. (OPINION); Is The Black Church The Answer To Liberal Prayers?; Catholic Charities' Human Trafficking Program Loses Federal Funds; Air Force Academy Adapts to Pagans, Druids, Witches and Wiccans.

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Gang of Eight: GOP Candidates Debate o' the Week

Another week, another Republican Presidential Debate.

This time, eight of the GOP candidates for the nomination spent their evening putting forward their beliefs on the issues of foreign policy and national security. The topics ‘debated’ (out of respect for Debate teams around the country, I use inverted commas) were not surprising – Afghanistan, Iran, the Arab Spring, Israel, foreign aid, immigration.

But there were a few things that the candidates did say that caught my attention as I read through the transcript this morning – particularly in relation to foreign aid and immigration.

It was encouraging to hear at least one candidate come out and support the positive impact and geo-strategic importance that non-military development assistance is playing on the African continent (even if he did accidentally call Africa a "country.")

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The Afternoon News: Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011

Santorum: Occupy Wall Street Protesters Have A 'Legitimate Point', 'Occupy' Protesters March On New York Stock Exchange, Occupy Wall Street November 17: Journalists Arrested, Beaten By Police, 'Orchestrated' Arrests In Downtown L.A. Protest, Police Say, Deficit Talks Shift Toward Blame Game, GOP Supercommittee Members' Tax Plan Gives Party An Identity Crisis, Vatican Objects To Pope Kissing Imam Advert.     

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Students: Get Educated on Election Law Changes in Your District

See video
up, students! 

Under the guise of taking steps to protect against “voter fraud,” some lawmakers may be making it more difficult for you to vote.

If you’re a young person with a transient living situation, and especially if you’re an out-of-state college student who wishes to vote in the state where you attend school, it’s time to start paying close attention to your state’s election requirements and laws.

Efforts are already underway across the country to make it more difficult to vote, and if you’re not prepared, you may find yourself without an electoral voice come next November.

Approximately 37 states either have or are in the process of changing eligibility requirements for the 2012 election, and a recent report from the New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center predicts that they could affect up to 5 million voters from traditionally Democratic districts, affecting as many as 171 electoral votes.

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Let Your Voice Be Heard in Saturday's GOP Debate

On Saturday, November 12, at 8 p.m. ET, CBS News and National Journal will present a nationally broadcast debate focused on national security issues. 

There are several ways for you to participate both before and during the debate.

Our friends at WAND (Women's Action for New Directions) have created a primer about how you can submit questions to the candidates before the debate.

Let your voice be heard!

 

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The Afternoon News: Wednesday Nov. 9, 2011

For three straight years, there have been more than three job seekers to every available job. Nineteen statistics about the poor in America that will absolutely astound you (or should.) Poll shows most Americans see deepening wealth gap. OpEd: Juliet Eilperin of Think Progress believes climate change could be a "wedge issue" in 2012 elections. Rolling Stone magazine on "How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich." And Obama leads with Latino voters going into 2012, while GOP frontrunners face backlash on immigration.

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Jim Wallis and Gary Bauer on CNN's "State of the Union" Discuss Religion and the 2012 Election

On Sunday morning (11/6), Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis appeared on CNN's "State of the Union," with American Values president Gary Bauer and host Candy Crowley to discuss how religion will affect the 2012 General Election.

On the blog, view video of Jim's appearance, in two parts.

Part 1:

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Jim Wallis and Richard Land Discuss Evangelicals and 2012 Elections

Tonight, Sojourners and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission are co-sponsoring an event to discuss religion and the 2012 elections. Rev. Wallis and Dr. Richard Land will delve into what they believe the religious issues will be and should be from now until election day.

The event is already turning some heads. A Washington Post article by Michelle Boorstein summed up the unique nature of the event in a headline, "Evangelical opposites to hold discussion on 2012 presidential race."

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News: Quick Links

Romney's Mormonism To Be A Bigger Issue In The General Election, Say Evangelicals (includes comments from Jim Wallis; Oakland Braces For A 'General Strike'; Military Blew $1 Trillion On Weapons Since 9/11; American Voters Like Obama Better This Week, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Cain And Gingrich Up As Romney Stalls And Perry Fades; Obama: I'll Make The Call On Keystone XL Project; Democrats Embrace Populism; Huntsman Takes On Big Oil

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News: Monday Morning Quick Links (Updated)

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Abuse at Afghan Prisons. How Catholic Conservatives could turn the GOP presidential race. OpEd: Jesus would not #OccupyWallStreet. OWS is "largely secular." Religious leaders see immigration as "God's Call." OpEd: Alabama new immigration law has unintended consequences. OpEd: Wall Street Worship. Could 2012 be the most ideological election in years? And much more.

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Pat Robertson Warns GOP Candidates Against Far-Right

Today, Pat Robertson stated that if the GOP candidates embrace positions on the extreme far-right, they will be unelectable.

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News: Quick Links 2

The Side Effects Of Fast-Tracking Deportations; Ten Percent Of All Major Mainstream Media News Was About Occupy Wall Street Last Week; Mexican Clown Convention Holds 'Laugh For Peace'; What Has Obama Done For Poor People?; Class Warfare In The Senate Race; Restorative Justice And The Economy Of Grace; Pastors Hope For A Louder, Unrestricted Voice In 2012 Election; Jesus At Occupy Wall Street: 'I Feel Like I've Been Here Before'

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News: Quick Links

Moammar Gadhafi Reported Killed; Obama To Court Religious Voters In 2012;The Tragic Costs of Immigration Detention;The 'Gospel' According To Herman Cain; Republican Environmental Group Seeks To Put Conservation Back On The Conservative Agenda; Cain Claims 999 Has A Secret Fix To Help The Poor: 'I Just Haven't Told The Public Or My Opponents About It Yet'

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