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Links on R&P from around the web

Domestic Violence and Anti-Sharia Laws

posted on June 19, 2012

At First Things, Matthew Schmitz challenges David Goldman’s views on the negative role Sharia law plays in the domestic life of American Muslims. Goldman, a former editor at First Things, asserts that Muslim households in America experience high rates of physical violence, due to the fact that Sharia law legitimizes spousal abuse. Schmitz refutes this claim, stating that Muslim women have a “notably low rate of domestic abuse” when compared to the population of U.S. women as a whole. “Whatever the merits of Goldman’s readings of the Islamic theory of authority in the household,” Schmitz writes, “the actual situation among American Muslims is not near so dire as he suggests.”

Read at First Things

Romney Finds His Inner Santorum before Evangelical Audience

posted on June 19, 2012

In a video-conferenced speech to the Faith & Freedom Coalition this past weekend, Mitt Romney’s rhetoric mirrored that of his former rival, Rick Santorum, notes BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller. “Romney referenced many elements of Santorum’s former stump speech,” writes Miller, “including the Brookings Institution study on families that [formed] the cornerstone of Santorum’s social issues campaign.” Santorum, who spoke after Romney at the conference, praised the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee: “Gov. Romney’s speech was right on, and not just because he quoted me.”

Read at BuzzFeed

Idaho Woman’s Case Marks a Key Abortion Challenge

posted on June 19, 2012

At The Los Angeles Times, Kim Murphy reports on Jennie Linn McCormack’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of an Idaho law that “makes it illegal to obtain abortion pills from out-of-state doctors over the Internet.” McCormack, who lives in a “conservative, heavily Mormon region of southeast Idaho,” used such pills to abort a fetus that was 5 months into its gestation. Murphy writes that McCormack reached this decision in December 2010, when the “33-year-old single mother of three, found herself pregnant again. Unemployed and living off $250 a month in child support, she saw the idea of adding to her brood as unthinkable.” 

Read at The Los Angeles Times

Can Conservatives Overcome Washington’s Secular Bent to Ban Gay Marriage?

posted on June 19, 2012

The outcome of a Washington state referendum this November to ban gay marriage, which is sponsored by a coalition of conservative religious groups, depends on how the state’s religious “nones” vote, reports Religion News Service’s Tracy Simmons. According to the 2010 census, Washington has almost 4.4 million residents who don’t belong to a religious organization. “Any political issue, whether it passes or fails, depends by and large on how the vast majority of these unchurched are persuaded,” notes Patricia O’Connell Killen, the editor of the book, Religion and Public Life in the Pacific Northwest: The None Zone.


Read at Religion News Service

How I Constructed ‘The American Bible’

posted on June 19, 2012

Stephen Prothero, Boston University professor and regular contributor to CNN’s Belief Blog, provides insight into how he composed his new book, The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation. The book is a compilation of influential American speeches, songs, letters, and novels. In selecting among America’s canonical writings, Prothero writes that he looked for “texts that have generated conversation and controversy,” and that also “speak to the meaning of ‘America’ and ‘Americans.’” 

Read at CNN

War on Religion? What War on Religion?

posted on June 19, 2012

When GQ’s Marin Cogan attended the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s annual conference this past weekend, she hoped to hear heated rhetoric about Obama’s “war on religion,” a phrase that appears frequently on the Faith & Freedom’s website. Yet Cogan was disappointed, remarking that “the only person I heard use the term ‘war on religion’ was, well…me.” However, Cogan notes that while the phrase itself was absent from the conference, the sentiment was not. Ralph Reed, the founder and chairman of the organization, stated that, “[the Obama] administration has demonstrated an insensitivity, if not outright hostility to religious belief and the expression of religious belief in society.”


Read at GQ

Jews against Israel

posted on June 19, 2012

At The American Conservative, Paul Gottfried reviews Jack Ross’ new biography of Elmer Berger, Rabbi Outcast: Elmer Berger and American Jewish Anti-Zionism. While Berger became “[a]n increasingly marginalized figure after the birth of the Jewish state in 1948,” Gottfried writes that Ross’ biography of Berger reminds its readers “that there was a time when a large, influential body of Jewish leaders vehemently opposed the creation of a Jewish national state.”

Read at The American Conservative

Praise for Obama on Immigration from the Religious Right

posted on June 18, 2012

The Atlantic’s Molly Ball reports on the response from some prominent conservative Christians to President Obama’s announcement that he has moved to halt the deportation of young illegal immigrants. Many on the Christian right, like the Southern Baptist Convention’s Richard Land, continue to criticize Obama for what they have called the president’s “war on religion.” Yet, Ball writes, “Land and others … part ways with some of their Republican brethren when it comes to immigration, and they have been increasingly vocal about their views on the issue, which they see as one of universal human dignity.” 

Read at The Atlantic

CHA Urges Expanded Religious Exemption, Says Government Must Pay

posted on June 18, 2012

The Catholic News Service’s Nancy Frazier O’Brien reports that a major supporter of the president’s health reform law has joined other Catholic organizations in criticizing the Obama administration for its handling of the contraception mandate controversy. Last week, leaders of the Catholic Health Association (CHA) urged the Obama administration to expand the types of religious employers exempted from the mandate to provide contraception coverage. According to the CHA, the current “accommodation” that the administration has proposed does not go far enough “to meet the religious liberty concerns of all of our members and other church ministries.” 

Read at Catholic News Service

Thousands March Silently to Protest Stop-and-Frisk Policies

posted on June 18, 2012

The New York Times’ John Leland and Colin Moynihan report that this past Sunday thousands of demonstrators marched down New York City’s Fifth Avenue to protest the New York Police Department’s “stop-and-frisk” policies. Hundreds of organizations endorsed the march, including leading religious, civil rights, and gay, lesbian, and transgender groups. “The turnout reflected the growing alliance between civil rights groups and gay and lesbian activists,” writes Leland and Moynihan, “who in past years have often kept each other at arm’s length.” 

Read at The New York Times