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Romney Heads to Lynchburg

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Mitt Romney heads to Lynchburg tomorrow to deliver the commencement address at Liberty University. The school is set, geographically, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains but in terms of political geography, Liberty is Ground Zero for Romney’s election bid. Liberty University, begun in 1971 as Liberty Baptist College by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, is the largest evangelical university in the country. According to Liberty, they will confer some 14,000 degrees this spring, 60 percent of which will go to online students.

Throughout the primaries, the higher the percentage of white evangelical voters in a given state, the worse Romney did. Until all the other candidates dropped out of the race, Romney failed to win a single state in which white evangelicals were a majority of voters. In October 2011, according to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, Romney managed only a 40 percent favorability rating from white evangelical Protestants.

Two Great New Essays at CMT

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CatholicMoralTheology.com, now beginning its second year in existence, has quickly become must-reading within the RC blogosphere.

Two recent essays are especially worth checking out.

Tobias Winright looks at the remaining moral debates about the death penalty, especially in tough cases like the Norweigan mass murderer Anders Breivik.

Meghan Clark continues the public debate about what subsidiarity does, and does not, demand, looking specifically at SNAP, the Supplemental Food Assistance Program, or food stamps.

Both Winright and Clark are serious scholars, and the depth of their learning shames the rest of us bloggers! But they also write in accessible ways. I hope that college and even high school Catholic classrooms are pointing their students towards the CMT blog which is proving to be an invaluable resource for serious moral reflection and insight.

Evangelicals Fall Into Line

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The good people at the Public Religion Research Institute have new survey numbers regarding one of the principal questions facing the Romney campaign: Can he win over the evangelicals who ran from him during the primaries? The answer is an unqualified Yes. You can find the poll numbers by clicking here and I will have more on this issue tomorrow in advance of Mr. Romney's speech at Liberty University, the largest evangelical university in the country.

Only in America

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From Deseret News, this story about a Lebanese Muslim student, Mustapha El Akkari, the first non-LDS student body president at Brigham Young University in Hawaii.

It is a commonplace in some circles to consider tolerance a negligible virtue, although one can easily think of dozens of countries around the world where a bit more tolerance would be very welcome. This article shows why tolerance is still the kind of thing that can put a big, fat lump in one's throat.

Obama & Same-Sex Marriage

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President Obama yesterday announced that “personally” he is in favor of same sex marriage. Of course, nothing a president does is exclusively personal: The job comes with a bully pulpit. But, it is worth noting that he did not announce any new policy yesterday, has not proposed federalization of the issue, etc. It is also worth noting that the metaphor of a “bully pulpit” – it is not a “bully lectern” – suggests that in some sense the President, being head of state as well as head of government, has a unique role in leading a nation that is still very religious.

Wassup with RNC?

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First, The Republican National Committee's staffer charged with reaching out to Hispanic voters, an unenviable task that, said that Mitt Romney was "still deciding" what his position on immigration would be. Huh? Mr. Romney has made it quite clear, in the very public forum of several debates, what he thinks about immigration policy. He supports Arizona's draconian law. He supports Alabama's draconian law. He favors "self-deportation" and has promised to veto the DREAM Act because it is a magnet for illegal immigration, even though, by its own terms, it is a magnet for those who aspire to college or to protect the U.S. by serving in the military, in which case it would seem like a good magnet to have.

Then, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus pulled a Joe Biden on gay marriage, saying that the GOP does not support federalizing the issue, although mr. Romney is on record supporting a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Also, the Defense of Marriage Act is already an instance of federalizing the issue.

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