religious conservatives

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Since winning the election with strong support from conservative evangelical voters, President Trump has invited their leaders to the White House, and banned government funding for groups that support or perform abortions overseas.

But he has yet to move on one item that many of them care about.

No one has been named to direct the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which, since 2001, has linked government with a broad range of religious groups.

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In Trump’s first nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, abortion foes were convinced they had the jurist who would fulfill Trump’s campaign promise to appoint justices who would deliver the reversal they have worked decades to achieve. But now, after last week’s hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, some are voicing concern that Gorsuch might not be such a reliable anti-Roe vote after all.

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A day after his first speech to Congress, President Trump was still basking in unexpected praise from the public and some pundits, who saw in his delivery a man who finally came across as measured in tone and downright “presidential,” as some put it, even if his few policy prescriptions reiterated the hard line, nationalist agenda that propelled him to office.

But there is one key constituency that might not be as enamored with the address: social conservatives, whose support was arguably most critical to Trump’s election.

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Conservative Christians in particular cheered [Trump's] nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and his promised “fix” for the Johnson Amendment, which restricts pastors' ability to politick in the pulpit.

But, for the second time since his inauguration, Trump has decided to retain an Obama-era initiative to protect sexual minorities.

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Lost amid the ongoing furor over President Trump’s travel ban, and the ecstasy (and agony) over his first pick for the Supreme Court, was another move on Jan. 31 that is starting to give social conservatives pause: Trump’s continuance of the executive order by President Obama’s policy that protects gay and transgender employees from discrimination while working for federal contractors.

And not only did Trump extend the protections, but he did so in powerful language that used the community’s own “LGBTQ” identifier, while vowing that Trump would be “respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights.”

David Jackson 10-19-2015

Image via Mike Stone / REUTERS / RNS

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.

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World map painted with watercolors. Image via Markovka / Shutterstock.com

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.

Robert P. George, chairman of U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Religion News Service photo by Lauren Markoe.

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.

Photo courtesy RNS.

Religious orientation scale. Photo courtesy RNS.

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.

The shift toward gay Boy Scout members raises questions about another excluded group: atheists. Photo courtesy RNS.

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.

 
Jim Wallis 3-01-2010
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John Gehring 10-23-2009
Just in time for Halloween, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is once again spooked about all those "radical secularists" lurking ominously behind ever corner.
John Gehring 3-25-2009
When both the Left and Right begin sharpening their knives, it means you are on to something.

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