Posts Tagged ‘electoral politics’

January 22nd, 2013

A complex story

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The American religious landscape is being altered by what Mark Noll calls “a more pluralistic evangelicalism than has ever existed before.”

In the movement Marcia Pally describes, evangelicalism is no longer synonymous with white evangelicals. Conservative black churches have long held a pro-life, pro-marriage ethic in balance with energetic social activism. Immigrant churches, the fastest-growing segment of Christianity, tend to be conservative theologically while progressive on issues like poverty and immigration. The increasingly influential Hispanic community naturally aligns with this movement. As Samuel Rodriguez puts it: “Where Billy Graham meets Dr. King, that’s where you will see the Hispanic Christian community emerge.”

January 15th, 2013

Evangelicals who have left the right

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Post-election reporting that 79 percent of white evangelicals voted for Mitt Romney got little attention in the news because most journalists thought it wasn’t news. Evangelical support for the GOP has been consistent; even Romney’s Mormonism didn’t put them off. So election analysis approached white evangelicals as it usually has: as religio-political lemmings, all voting Republican for all the same reasons.

Yet where there was once the appearance of a monovocal evangelicalism there is now robust polyphony—what theologian Scot McKnight calls “the biggest change in the evangelical movement at the end of the twentieth century, a new kind of Christian social conscience.” This deserves our attention because most politics does not happen at elections but in between, when policy is negotiated and implemented. Current shifts in evangelical activism have re-routed the flow of evangelical money, time, and energy, and are changing the demands on the US political system. This essay investigating the shift is based on seven years of field research in evangelical books, articles, newsletters, sermons, and blogs, and on interviews with evangelicals, ages 19 to 74, across geographic and demographic groups—from students in Illinois to retired firemen from Mississippi, from former bikers to professors and political consultants.

November 13th, 2012

Religion and the election

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Several months ago, it seemed religion might be a notable factor in the 2012 presidential election.

November 5th, 2012

After Sandy: Presidential rhetoric and visions of solidarity

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On Monday afternoon as Hurricane Sandy threatened landfall, President Obama warned reporters gathered at the White House that the storm would be a difficult one, and urged a collective, unifying response. In the wake of the storm, Obama has often shifted away from the polarized rhetoric of the campaign trail to a message reminiscent of the candidate circa 2008, employing hopeful metaphors of American unity and healed fracture.

Many scholars who initially saw in Obama the possibility of a reinvigorated prophetic civil religion have since been disappointed. Now, on the eve of the election and as the waters recede across New Jersey and New York City, we have a moment to reflect on the rhetoric and symbolism that Obama has employed during this disaster.

What, if anything, is new about the rhetoric and symbolism he is employing, and how should we understand the relationship between this rhetoric and his governing style? What does it suggest about the arc of American civil religion, about shifting and multiple visions of national solidarity, and about the election and the political climate to follow?

June 15th, 2012

President Obama’s waning religious support

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In 2008, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was able to make crucial gains among religious moderates on his way to winning the presidential election.

April 27th, 2012

Romney and the two holy lands

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Mitt Romney can’t find enough good things to say about Israel. And like his now defunct challengers, Gingrich and Santorum, he continually accuses President Obama of failing to support the Jewish state.

March 7th, 2012

Decoding religious freedom claims

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Molly Worthen, in the New York Times‘ Campaign Stops blog, considers the undertones of recent conservative claims regarding the Obama administration’s purported disregard of religious freedom.

March 2nd, 2012

The naked public sphere?

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In light of Rick Santorum’s recent comments on religion and the public sphere, we asked a small handful of scholars about the status of such claims regarding religion in American political life. Just how “naked” is the American public square? What is the appropriate place of religion in the public sphere?

Read responses by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Michele Dillon, John L. Esposito, John H. Evans, Philip S. Gorski, R. Marie Griffith, Cristina Lafont, Nancy Levene, Nadia Marzouki, Ebrahim Moosa, Justin Neuman, and John Schmalzbauer.

March 2nd, 2012

College, religion, and Santorum

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A 2007 SSRC study on religion and higher education contradicts Rick Santorum’s claims about loss of faith and college attendance.

January 13th, 2012

An uncomfortable spotlight

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The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life has released a comprehensive survey of more than 1,000 Mormons living across the country.

December 17th, 2011

Tunisia’s election: counter-revolution or democratic transition?

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Today marks the first anniversary of the self-immolation of a young street seller in Tunisia that sparked the Arab Spring. How is Tunisia doing one year on?

According to Jean Daniel, the French commentator and founder of Novel Observateur, in his “Islamism’s New Clothes” article in the December 22, 2011 issue of The New York Review of Books, the answer is: very badly. In his view, the recent elections in Tunisia amount to a “counter-revolution.” It would appear from what he says that the elections could only count as a revolution if they had followed the script of a French model of 1905 laïcité –the most religiously “unfriendly” form of secularism of any West European democracy. Such a model, in a more extreme form, was imposed by the state in the authoritarian secularism under Habib Bourguiba and Ben Ali, who ruled Tunisia without free elections from Independence in 1956 until the Arab Spring.

Having witnessed, and written about, over fifteen efforts at democratic transitions and having visited Tunisia three times since the start of the Arab Spring, I would argue the opposite: A much more appropriate description of the political situation in Tunisia is to call it the Arab Spring’s first completed democratic transition.

November 8th, 2010

What sort of “values” are we talking about?

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At Trans/Missions, Richard Flory looks at the interplay of matters of principle and matters pecuniary among religious voters in last week’s mid-term elections.

November 5th, 2010

Religion and the midterm elections

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Set against a backdrop of continued economic distress, the emerging Tea Party movement, and mercurial public opinion of President Obama, many observers correctly predicted that this month’s elections would effect a reconfiguration of partisan power in Congress and among the governorships.

What role did religious discourse—both civil and uncivil—play in the public conversations leading up to the elections, and what light does this shed on the ways that religion is currently shaping contemporary political culture in the U.S.?

Read responses from: Richard Amesbury, Jason Bivins, J. Kameron Carter, Ernesto Cortes, Jr., John L. Jackson, Jr., David Kyuman Kim, Ebrahim Moosa, John Schmalzbauer, Jeffrey Stout, and Emilie Townes.

This post has been updated to include a contribution from Rabbi Michael Lerner.—ed.