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Links on R&P from around the web

Private Faith and Public Policy: Where Obama and Santorum Agree

posted on May 15, 2012

Reacting to Rick Santorum’s comment that he “almost threw up” when he read “JFK’s famous church-state speech,” Christianity Today Editor-in-Chief David Neff asserts “Santorum significantly misread JFK’s speech.” The former presidential candidate failed to distinguish between privatizing faith and secularization. “Kennedy was not discussing the public square, but the presidency,” Neff writes. “He did not reject the participation of people of faith in the public debate, but the idea that ecclesiastical prelates could have back-channel influence on the President.”

Read at Christianity Today

Wedding Bells

posted on May 15, 2012

In The New Yorker, Margaret Talbot juxtaposes the current debate on same-sex marriage with the debates in the 1960s and 1970s against interracial marriage, showing how the national fervor over the two issues is strikingly similar. By appealing to data on younger citizens’ views, Talbot argues that “marriage equality is a historical inevitability,” because “the divide is a matter not of life stages but of generations.” Looking to the past, Talbot sees how “one day, not long from now, it will be hard to remember what worried people so much about gay and lesbian couples committing themselves to marriage.” 

Read at The New Yorker

After Obama’s Decision on Marriage, a Call to Pastors

posted on May 15, 2012

At The New York Times, Peter Baker and Rachel J. Swarns report that within hours of announcing his support for same-sex marriage, “the president and his team embarked on a quiet campaign to contain the possible damage among religious leaders and voters.” They set up a call with African-American ministers and Obama had prayer sessions and conversations with the pastors he regularly depends on for spiritual guidance.

Read at The New York Times

The Constitution Doesn’t Settle the Marriage Debate

posted on May 15, 2012

Princeton’s Robert P. George recently gave an oral argument in one of the cases debating the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Cozen O’Connor, P.C. v. Tobits. First Things reprints George’s argument, in which he says it is the people and their elected representatives, not the courts or Constitution, who must decide the issue. He concludes: “It is up to the democratic process, not the courts purporting to act in the name of the Constitution, to make the moral judgment that marriage should be retained as a conjugal partnership, or to make the competing moral judgments that would redefine marriage, whether to accommodate polygamous, polyamorous, or same sex partnerships.”

Read at First Things

No More “Enemy Turf”

posted on May 15, 2012

Not accepting defeat, politicians today are no longer ceding voting groups because they belong to “enemy turf,” according to Ed Kilgore, writing for Washington Monthly. “Reducing the margin of defeat on ‘hostile ground’ is often achievable simply by paying attention and not willfully repelling voters,” he writes, while also reminding Democrats they can court religious and military voters. When it comes to elections, “a vote’s a vote whether it comes from a segment of the electorate that progressives are ‘winning’ or ‘losing’.” 

Read at Washington Monthly

Inside Turkey’s Secretive, Islamic Gulen School Movement

posted on May 15, 2012

At The Atlantic, Justin Vela writes about Turkey’s Gulen movement, “founded by a charismatic Islamic theologian, Fetullah Gülen.” Vela focuses on the movement’s global network of schools, which aim … to create a ‘golden generation’ of educated Muslims.”

Read at The Atlantic

Priest to Profit: How the Mormon Church Teaches Priesthood Holders to Lead

posted on May 15, 2012

In The Washington Post, Matthew Bowman breaks down the Mormon priesthood structure to show how “it is dedicated simultaneously to ecclesiastical authority and also to democratic expression of that authority.” By teaching Mormon youths to “both respect authority and to value democratic participation in leadership,” the Mormon priesthood trains future leaders.  

Read at The Washington Post

Critics of Sharia Law Push Michigan Foreign Laws Bill

posted on May 15, 2012

In Michigan, advocates are pushing bills to outlaw foreign laws, which ostensibly are meant to forbid the implementation of Sharia Law in the state. “Several groups have expressed concern,” according to the Associated Press, “including the Michigan Catholic Conference, the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter, and Arab social and civil rights organizations in the Detroit area, which has one of the largest and oldest continuous populations of Arabs and Muslims in the country.”

Read at The Associated Press

Andrew Sullivan on Barack Obama: The First Gay President

posted on May 14, 2012

In Newsweek’s latest cover story, Andrew Sullivan tackles Obama’s same-sex marriage decision, arguing that Obama’s experience as a biracial man growing up in a white family mirrors that of many in the LGBT community. Sullivan also writes of his own reaction to Obama’s announcement: “But I didn’t expect it. Like many others, I braced myself for disappointment. And yet when I watched the interview, the tears came flooding down. … To have the president of the United States affirm my humanity—and the humanity of all gay Americans—was, unexpectedly, a watershed. He shifted the mainstream in one interview.”

Read at Newsweek

Unions that Divide: Churches Split over Gay Marriage

posted on May 14, 2012

Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times writes on the varied reactions of churches on Obama’s support for marriage equality. She notes it’s complicated, as there are churches and ministers within the same denomination who disagree, with some supporting gay marriage, and others opposing. “[I]n the clash over homosexuality, the battle lines do not simply pit ministers against secular advocates for gay rights,” she writes. “Religion is on both sides in this conflict.”

Read at The New York Times