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Links on R&P from around the web

Is Pro-Life Cause Célèbre Chen Guangcheng Actually Pro-Life?

posted on May 8, 2012

At Religion Dispatches, Lindsay Beyerstein chronicles how the blind, Chinese human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng got claimed by the American pro-life movement. “Anti-abortion news and opinion websites have taken to calling Chen a ‘pro-life dissident,’ which is fundamentally misleading,” Beyerstein writes. “Chen is not opposed to abortion, per se, he is opposed to forced abortion.”

Read at Religion Dispatches

The Real Nun Victims

posted on May 8, 2012

At The American Conservative, Rod Dreher writes that the news media, obsessed with the Vatican’s recent crackdown on some 57,000 American nuns involved in social justice work, has failed to address the plight of the majority of American Catholic Sisters who don’t belong to the “radical” Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). “The real victims are the faithful nuns who ought to have been protected and defended by the Vatican three decades ago, when the radicals who had no regard for the Roman Catholic faith were beginning their long and destructive march through the institutions.”

Read at The American Conservative

How Did Mormons Grow So Fast? They Changed How They Counted

posted on May 8, 2012

The Salt Lake Tribune‘s religion reporter, Peggy Fletcher Stack, goes inside the exceptional growth rates the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) celebrated last week. According to Stack, the claim that between 2000 and 2010 the LDS Church was America’s fastest growing religious institution is misleading. It was more about about Mormons changing how they count their members than large-scale conversions to Mormonism.  

Read at The Salt Lake Tribune

New Form of Christian Civic Engagement

posted on May 8, 2012

Jonathan Merritt writes that after three decades of many American evangelicals following “divisive leaders into the culture wars,” at the grassroots level, “a softer, less partisan” mode of Christian engagement in politics is taking shape. “And this cultural change,” Merritt writes at USA TODAY, “could be the very thing our faith needs to survive.”

Read at USA TODAY

Bryan Fischer’s Last Stand Against The Gays

posted on May 8, 2012

BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray profiles Bryan Fisher of the American Family Association (AFA). Fisher created quite a stir last week when he tweeted: “Romney’s problem on homosexuality: I’m more Mormon than he is. LDS: gay sex is ‘offensive to God.’ I agree, Mitt doesn’t.” Gray writes that Fisher and the AFA took credit for the departure of openly-gay foreign policy expert Richard Grenell from Romney’s campaign. “And with Grenell’s exit, Fischer scored his first real coup, and seems poised to benefit more from conservatives’ disillusionment with Romney than any of the evangelical leaders who have fallen into line with the Republican nominee.”

Read at BuzzFeed

What the Evangelicals Give the Jews

posted on May 8, 2012

At Commentary, Michael Medved argues that Obama does in fact have a Jewish problem, and a profound one. The question Medved asks (and begins to answer) is whether American Jewish voters will “accept their deep disappointment with Barack Obama and vote for his reelection, or will they overcome their own discomfort with Christian evangelicals and vote for the Republican candidate?”

Read at Commentary

Election Puts French Afghan Force on Notice

posted on May 8, 2012

The New York Times’ Rod Nordland writes that the election of the Socialist François Hollande to the French presidency might lead to a speedier exit of French troops from Afghanistan than the time-table set by the now lame-duck French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Reporting from Kabul, Nordland writes, “A spokesman for the French military here said that about a fourth of French troops were on course to leave Afghanistan by the end of this year, while they awaited word on whether the new French president would speed up their withdrawal.”

Read at The New York Times

Why the Catholic Vote Matters in 2012 — in One Map

posted on May 8, 2012

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza pulls out a map, recently released as part of the 2010 U.S. Religion Census, to demonstrate why the Catholic vote serves as an effective bellwether in presidential elections. “One of the main reasons that Catholics tend to function as an accurate election predictor is because there are large numbers of them in the upper Midwest, a traditional swing area between the two parties.”

Read at The Washington Post

Race, Religion Collide in Presidential Campaign

posted on May 7, 2012

Writing for the Associated Press, Rachel Zoll and Jesse Washington explore the backgrounds of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, one a racial minority, the other a religious minority, both “representatives of two groups that have endured oppression to carve out a place in the United States.” Zoll and Washington write, “How unthinkable it was, not so long ago, that a presidential election would pit a candidate fathered by an African against another condemned as un-Christian. … How much progress has America made against bigotry? By November, we should have some idea.”

Read at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

White House, Gay Rights Advocates Tussle over Biden’s Comments on Gay Marriage

posted on May 7, 2012

On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Vice President Joe Biden made remarks in support of gay marriage: “I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.” TPM’s Pema Levy notes his statements “ignited a small fire” over perceptions they “were too close for comfort for the Obama administration’s ‘evolving’ position on marriage equality.”

Read at Talking Points Memo