2012 Presidential Election

Tony Campolo 01-30-2012
Red letter Bible via Wylio http://bit.ly/wk2149

Red letter Bible via Wylio http://bit.ly/wk2149

The need for Red Letter Christians to no longer be labeled "evangelicals" became abundantly clear this past Saturday following the South Carolina Republican Primary. Most Evangelicals claim to be politically non-partisan, and say they only identify with the Republican Party because the Republicans are committed to "family values."

The truthfulness of that claim became questionable this past Saturday when South Carolina Evangelicals voted in surprisingly large numbers for Newt Gingrich, in spite of the fact that he's hardly a model husband in their eyes. Not only is he on his third wife, having had divorce papers served to one of them while she was lying in a hospital bed recovering from a mastectomy for breast cancer, but, if his second wife is to believed, wanted an "open marriage" so that he could have a sexual affair on the side.

Now Mr. Gingrich has been converted to Catholicism, and has, as part of his conversion, confessed his sin and asked for God's forgiveness. Evangelicals will say that this being the case we should forgive, forget and move on "to other concerns." I have to ask, however, why they didn't do this when a Democratic president repented of his sin?

Duane Shank 01-26-2012
Brigham Young, Mormon leader and Western pioneer. Via Wiki Commons.

Brigham Young, Mormon leader and Western pioneer. Via Wiki Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brigham-young.jpg

With Mormonism frequently in the news, do you wish you knew more about its beliefs and practices?  Cathy Lynn Grossman has a good basic summary, and a comparative chart to Christian denominations.

Rick Santorum campaigns ahead of the S.C. primary. Getty images.

Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at the Cathedral of Praise after learning today he was

With the Iowa caucus, the "First in the Nation" New Hampshire primary, and South Carolina's primary now behind us, the field of contenders for the Republican nomination continues to shrink. I've watched with great interest as the spectacle rolls on and a parade of non-Romney's (Non-Roms, going forward) rhythmically rise and fall. What is perhaps most interesting about the current frontrunners is the lack of an obvious evangelical candidate. For all the talk that we hear about the importance of the evangelical vote, one would suspect at least one of the potential nominees to be, you know, an evangelical.

But Michele Bachmann is out of the race after a promising start in the Iowa straw poll. Perry, whose entrance into the race as a more "electable" evangelical candidate may have contributed to Bachmann's quick downfall, all but eliminated himself in a number of now infamous debate flops. That leaves one not particularly religious Baptist, two Roman Catholics, and a Mormon. Rick Santorum, a Catholic, is perhaps the most socially conservative and thus the most evangelical-looking of the Non-Roms, but many evangelicals have a deep mistrust of Catholics, so it is doubtful that, as they did in Iowa, evangelicals will support him despite his Catholicism.

So what happened here? Back in 2004, when talking about the evangelical vote was all the rage, one could presume that evangelicals were a unified political front—that denominations or non-denominations within evangelicalism didn't matter, theological differences were moot, and ending abortion was enough to tie them all together. The problem with this presumption is that it was never true. There was never one kind of evangelical. If there was, self-identified evangelicals wouldn't have to add a definition or disclaimer every time they identify as such.

the Web Editors 01-25-2012

At NBC's Florida debate earlier this week, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich got into a game of one-upmanship over where Cuban dictator Fidel Castro might end up after his hypothetical death.

You really can't make this stuff up. But you can make it funnier...if you're Jon Stewart, that is.

Watch the video inside the blog...

the Web Editors 01-24-2012
President Obama Addresses The Nation During State Of The Union Address via Getty

President Obama Addresses The Nation During State Of The Union Address via Getty Images

From President Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address:

The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. (Applause.) What’s at stake aren’t Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. And we have to reclaim them.

Let’s remember how we got here. Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores. Technology made businesses more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete. Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren’t, and personal debt that kept piling up.

Read the full text of the SOTU Address inside the blog...

God's Politics 01-17-2012

Last week, Stephen Colbert announced that he is exploring a possible presidential run in 2012, and put Comedy Central compatriot, Jon Stewart, in charge of his Super PAC. Because of the strict FEC separation of super PAC and candidate, Stewart will have to determine what to do with all of the Colbert Super PAC's money on his own.

What do you think he should do with the PAC monies?

Watch Jon explore the possibilities inside the blog...

Carrie Adams 01-13-2012
Mitt Romney. Illustration by DonkeyHotey via Wylio

Mitt Romney. Illustration by DonkeyHotey via Wylio

We’ve been watching the shifting evangelical vote in the primaries thus far, and NPR just took another look at it — from the King Makers on their way to Texas to try and find the Anti-Mitt. It’s not a question of if they can do it, but can they do it in time? S

outh Carolina is quickly approaching and their timetable is getting shorter and shorter.

And if they can, will it even make a difference for today’s evangelical voter?

 

Timothy King 01-12-2012
Tim King is Sojourners' Communcations Director

Tim King is Sojourners' Communcations Director

If the GOP primaries were like Old Country Buffet, I’d be happy.

Think about it. There wouldn’t be so much money involved and we could pick only the stuff we liked and ignore  the rest.

And of course, everyone knows the basic rules of smorgasbord grazing, such as you can’t get decent sushi in the Midwest or proper social conservatives from Massachusetts.

Cathleen Falsani 01-10-2012
A 1913 post card of Dixville Notch, N.H. Image via http://bit.ly/xpf7Yi

A 1913 post card of Dixville Notch, N.H. Image via http://bit.ly/xpf7Yi

Just after midnight Tuesday at The Balsams, an historic, grand hotel nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains, the entire population of tiny unincorporated town of Dixville Notch, N.H., cast the very first votes in the 2012 New Hampshire primary — all nine of them.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney tied former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman with two votes each, while Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich both received a single vote. President Obama also won his first votes — three.

Timothy King 01-09-2012
2012 NH Primary Candidates by DonkeyHotey via Wylio http://www.wylio.com/credits

2012 NH Primary Candidates by DonkeyHotey via Wylio http://www.wylio.com/credits/Flickr/6657147217

Tomorrow, New Hampshire votes. If there is one thing that I can tell you about my home state that might give insight into tomorrow’s voting, it is this:

It’s the only state in the country with the “right to revolution” written into it’s constitution. (Check it out, it’s article 10 in the N.H. bill of rights.)

The old Yankees of New Hampshire don’t like being told who to vote for. And, they especially don’t want to be told who should get their vote by anyone who works for a cable news company. 

Remember how Obama was supposed to go on from Iowa to take New Hampshire sealing up the Democratic nomination? If they could throw a wrench into the GOP nomination process, I’m sure New Hampshirites would be proud to do so.

At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, at least two members of the audience challenged Mitt Romney on the morality of America’s economic system and of the trickle-down theory of economics. Romney defended the concept that corporations are people and asked which country in the world has higher incomes than the United States.
   
Luxembourg.
   
And depending upon what measure one uses and which web site on consults, that list also includes the territory of Bermuda, the dependency of Jersey, Equatorial Guinea, United Arab Emirates, Norway and Switzerland.
   
It is true that the United States has the most powerful economy measured by Gross Domestic Product — nearly $15 trillion. China is number two with $10 trillion. But if we measure per capita income, the United States falls to number three behind Norway and Switzerland. (Norway: $43,400 Switzerland: $40, 680 U.S. $37,870)
   
According to the web site WiseGeek, Luxembourg has the highest income per capita in the world.

the Web Editors 01-06-2012
Rick Santorum. Image via Wylio http://www.wylio.com/credits/Flickr/6184431370

Rick Santorum. Image via Wylio http://www.wylio.com/credits/Flickr/6184431370

Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum is a darling of the Christian right, and made a tremendous showing among evangelicals in the Iowa caucuses. But Santorum himself is a Catholic, and while many of his more socially conservative positions have endeared him to the evangelical community, they actually conflict with the teachings of his own church. The theological tensions in Santorum's record pose potential political problems for his candidacy: Can he bring Catholics into his camp despite advocating unorthodox positions? And can he maintain his reputation among conservative Christians as a principled man of religious integrity, despite taking political stances that violate the teachings of his own faith?

Santorum has often defended the role of religion in political affairs, stating that his own faith was a significant factor in his Senate career.

"The social teachings of my faith were a factor in my work as a senator," Santorum wrote in a 2007 opinion piece for the Philadelphia Enquirer, explaining his votes in favor of global AIDS relief as rooted in Christian teachings to "care for the poor."

But on two issues in particular, Santorum has broken with official Catholic doctrine to side with hardline evangelicals against accepted scientific conclusions. On several other matters, Santorum's political positions have sparked ire among Catholics concerned with social justice.

Cathleen Falsani 01-05-2012

A California vicar I know likes to describe the life of faith — the Church — as “The Great Conversation.” It is a conversation to which we all (and what part of alldon’t you understand?) are invited. When followers of Christ share their faith with others, they are inviting them to join the sacred conversation.

This is evangelicalism in its truest sense. This is what we are called to do. By the One, by Emmanuel, “God with us.”

My dear friend, (and most recently my boss), Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis, said recently that the 2012 presidential election is expected to be the most mean-spirited and vitriolic we’ve ever seen.

That may be true, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it must be that way.

We can solve that problem one conversation at a time.

Timothy King 01-04-2012
Photo illustration: The Funhouse Effect and Santorum

Photo illustration: The Funhouse Effect and Santorum

The results of the Iowa Caucus are in. Romney edged it out with 8 votes over Santorum. Ron Paul came in third and then Gingrich, Perry and Bachmann came in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

It’s a stretch, but remember when Bachmann was the candidate to beat? How about Perry? Cain? Gingrich was just a few weeks ago. Ron Paul was at the top of the polls for a moment Iowa.

Santorum has now shot up in prominence with his close second finish but some observers are arguing that the only reason why he is up is that he hasn’t been vetted yet. (On Wednesday, "Rick Santorum" was the second-most popular search on Google after "Iowa caucus.")

Why all of the ups and downs?

Matthew Santoro 01-04-2012

After a poor performance last night’s Iowa Caucus — with a sixth place finish and only 6 percent of the evangelical vote — U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann announced earlier today that she is suspending her campaign for President of the United States.

Watch video of her announcement inside...

Cathleen Falsani 01-04-2012
Pat Robertson. Screen capture from 1/4/12 700 Club broadcast.

Pat Robertson. Screen capture from 1/4/12 700 Club broadcast.

The Rev. Pat Robertson. Bless his heart.

In an appearance on his 700 Club program Tuesday, while Iowans were heading to their caucuses, Robertson, the 1988 Iowa Caucus runner up, told viewers that he had a long conversation with the Almighty recently about the 2012 presidential election and the state of affairs in these United States of America (God bless it) in general.

Apparently, God told Robertson, 81, who the 45th President of the United States will be. But it's a secret.

Jack Palmer 11-23-2011
The Afternoon News

The Afternoon News

Older, Suburban And Struggling, ‘Near Poor’ Startle The Census. OWS Campers: What Can We Occupy Next. Social Conservatives Hold Covert Meeting To Stop Romney. In Season Of Giving Thanks, Signs That Gratitude Is Back. What Christians Want In A President. Could Gingrich’s Immigration Stance Boost His 2012 Chances? And States’ Immigration Laws Fill Leadership Void Left by President and Congress.

“Oh my God” was the refrain that kept going through my mind as I watched the Republican presidential candidates talk about their positions on foreign policy at their debate over the weekend. 

I did not expect the surprises that I heard. At least two candidates supported torture, saying it was necessary to acquire acquire information to protect America.

Oh my God.

Jack Palmer 11-14-2011

 Cain: God Convinced Me To Run For President. OpEd: Whatever Happened To Discipline And Hard Work? Bob Jones III Unplugged. GOP Candidates Hammer Obama On His Iran Policy During South Carolina Debate. Jon Huntsman Blasts "Sound-Bite Campaigning." OpEd: Christian Politics Create Unholy Alliances. Would Cracking Down On Illegal Immigration Really Cut Unemployment? And the Poor Are With Us, However You Count Them.

Jack Palmer 11-10-2011
The Afternoon News

The Afternoon News

Reawakening the Radical Imagination. Proposed Keystone XL pipeline route may be reassessed. OpEd: The answer is: Spend less. Cornel West keeps the faith for Occupy Wall Street. Most Americans support raising the minimum wage. Smithsonian museum on Jefferson's Bible. Poll suggests evangelicals favor redistribution of wealth. Defining poverty in a land of plenty. Is American becoming a nation of poor children? Are older Americans better off? Immigration in the South. Are unions and young people a winning combination for 2012? Unemployment claims drop for the second straight week. And Christian leaders talk about marriage and sex.

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