A half-dozen Republican presidential candidates hit all the hot buttons Oct. 18 while speaking to an influential audience: Religious conservatives, the kinds of voters who could decide many GOP primaries next year.
“It’s time for us to bring God back to our country,” retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson told a campaign forum at Prestonwood Baptist Church near Dallas.
From opposition to abortion and gay marriage, to support for Israel and the fight against the Islamic State, Carson and other Republican candidates — Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee — drew repeated ovations at the event co-sponsored by the Faith & Freedom Coalition.
If religious conservatives are truly awakening to the need to dialogue with global Christians, they need to be consistent. It doesn’t make sense to exploit non-Western perspectives on LGBT rights but refuse to hear those same voices on matters such as nationbuilding, war, immigration, environmental policy, and foreign aid.
The inconsistency leads me to believe that these calls are more about political posturing than a desire to really listen to our global brothers and sisters.
A coalition of more than 50 religious leaders, led by mostly conservative Catholic, evangelical, and Jewish activists, is calling on President Obama to sharply escalate military action against Islamic extremists in Iraq. They say “nothing short of the destruction” of the Islamic State can protect Christians and religious minorities now being subjected to “a campaign of genocide.”
“We represent various religious traditions and shades of belief,” the petition reads. “None of us glorifies war or underestimates the risks entailed by the use of military force.”
But they say the situation is so dire that relief for these religious communities “cannot be achieved apart from the use of military force to degrade and disable” the Islamic State forces.
The petition was organized by Robert P. George, a prominent Catholic conservative and Republican activist, and he was joined by a range of other leaders, many of whom are known for their hawkish views on foreign policy.
There is a lopsided divide in America about what it means to be a religious person, with a majority believing that it’s about acting morally but a strong minority equating it with faith.
Nearly six out of 10 Americans (59 percent) say that being a religious person “is primarily about living a good life and doing the right thing,” as opposed to the more than one-third (36 percent) who hold that being religious “is primarily about having faith and the right beliefs.”
The findings, released Thursday, are part of a report by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution that aims to paint a more nuanced picture of the American religious landscape, and the religious left in particular.
Now that Boy Scout delegates have taken their long-awaited vote and permitted openly gay Scouts, will there be a mass exodus by religious groups?
It depends on who you ask.
The Assemblies of God is certain there will be.