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Jones on Gingrich and Evangelicals

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Robert P. Jones, of the Public Religion Reserach Institute, looks the evangelical attitudes towards the candidacy of Newt Gingrich, the gender differences among evangelicals on the issue of marital infideltity and, critically, the need for Gingrich to consistently work in his redemption narrative if he wants to win over evangelical voters. Jones' analysis is, per usual and as expected, spot-on and highly instructive.

And, you have to love the quote from Pastor Jeffress: "I think there’s now an evangelical tri-lemma. Do you vote for a Mormon who’s had one wife, a Catholic who’s had three wives, or an Evangelical who may have had an entire harem?" Jeffress made his remarks before Cain dropped out, but it is more than a little ironic, is it not, that the candidate with one wife is the Mormon.

Is This Really a \"Catholic Issue\"?

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Over at the Christian Post, Napp Nazworth makes the case that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was trying to help the administration secure the Catholic vote by deciding not to allow girls as young as 11 to access Plan B without a prescription. It is true that the USCCB applauded the decision, but this has not been at the top of their agenda. The decision had less to do with the Catholic vote than it had to do with the parent vote. As the President said yesterday in his comments on the decision, this was a victory for common sense.

Carolan at Prayer Vigil for Jobs

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At yesterday's Natonal Prayer Vigil for the Jobless and Jobs, our friend Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network, addressed the crowd. You can read my earlier article about the Franciscan Action Network here.

Here is the text of his remarks:

Statement by Patrick Carolan Executive Director Franciscan Action Network
Faith Advocates for Jobs National Prayer Vigil
For the Jobless and Jobs Prayer Service
12-08-2011 Upper Senate Park US Capitol

Brothers and Sisters Good Morning

Peace and All Good:

I would like to start with a reading from the Gospel of Matthew 25 34-40

New Data from Pew

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Yesterday, the blogging was a little thin because I attended an all-day conference at the Pew Research Center on media coverage of religion and politics. The event brought together journalists and scholars to look at past coverage, analyze current polling data, and discuss issues regarding news coverage of religion.

John Green, a senior research adviser at Pew and professor at the University of Akron, and Alan Cooperman, the Pew Forum’s associate director for research, provided some interesting data on a survey conducted in the beginning of November. The Republican race has changed quite a bit since then – Cain was then in the lead and Gingrich had not begun his race to the top of the polls – but much of the data was still enlightening.

Obama Holding His Own with Blacks & Latinos

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According to a new survey, President Barack Obama continues to receive high marks from both African-American and Latino voters. His numbers among Latinos are down slightly from 2008: Then, he received the votes of 67 percent of Latinos according to exit polls, but the new survey only shows him taking 64 percent. That downturn, however, comes before what you can expect will be some hard-hitting ads about the increasingly virulent anti-immigration stances of the various GOP candidates. Key states such as Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina and Florida may all depend on how well Obama does among Latinos.

HHS, Plan B & Scientism

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Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius yesterday overruled the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to make Plan-B, the morning-after pill, available without a prescription to any woman of child-bearing age. Sebelius’s decision is a victory for common sense and it is not, as it is being portrayed, a defeat for science. It is only a defeat for scientism, the reduction of science to that status of an ideology, an "ism."

Plan B is currently available without a prescription to any woman aged 17 or over. Anyone younger than that needs a prescription. The FDA’s recommendation would have allowed girls as young as 11 to purchase the drug in any drug store without any parental consent or doctor’s prescription. “There is adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential,” FDA Administrator Margaret Hamburg said in a statement.

+Nichols Criticized over Civil Unions' Comments

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Archbishop Vincent Nichols is being attacked by some conservative catholics for remarks he made regarding civil unions for same-sex partners, according to a report at vatican Insider.

This is silly. The Archbishop did not endorse civil unions, which are already the law of the land, but he insisted that they allow some of the objectives sought by those seeking same-sex marriage in the UK and are, in his estimation, a preferable alternative to changing the legal definition of marriage. More importantly, how is what Abp Nichols said different from what then-Abp, now Cardinal, William Levada endorsed when, as Abp of San Francisco, he worked out a compromise with the city government regarding the extension of health care and other benefits to same sex partners? Levada and the city agreed that those who work at agencies that receive government funds can name anyone they want to receive benefits, provided that person lives with them legally. It can be an unemployed cousin, a retired aunt, or a same sex partner.

War on Religion?

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Rick Perry has launched a new ad that claims he will end what he calls "Obama's war on religion." Given Perry's sometimes tenuous grasp on the facts, I suppose we should all be grateful that he did not accuse Obama of renewing the Hundred Years war. But, as I have warned previously, again and again, the narrative that Democrats are hostile to religion is alive and well and the administration should not feed that narrative by doing something really stupid on conscience exemptions.
Here is the video of Perry's ad.

American Life League's High Priestess

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The American Life League recently sent out a fundraising appeal that renews its attack on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the anti-poverty program administered by the United States. Of course, no one should write a check to the American Life League unless they begin to abide by the best-practices recommended for non-profits, as I wrote about here.

Most of the multi-page appeal merely repeats the charges against CCHD that the American Life League has leveled in the past. But something in the third to the last paragraph jumped off the page at me. Judie Brown, the high priestess of the American Life League, writes, “Please know this, at the time of my writing this letter to you, the CCHD has publicly responded to criticism by defunding only two of the groups in our report – both of which were confirmed to still be doing months later exactly what we found seven months ago! What other evidence do we need?”

That tagline – "What other evidence do we need?” sounded eerily familiar. In the 14th Chapter of the Gospel of St. Mark, we read of the trial of Jesus:

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December 5-18, 2014

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