home
RSS
May 12th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

With or without Romney, D.C. a surprising Mormon stronghold

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Alexandria, Virginia (CNN) – A few hundred Mormons filed into a chapel just outside the Washington Beltway one recent Sunday to hear a somewhat unusual presentation: an Obama administration official recounting his conversion to Mormonism.

“I have never in my life had a more powerful experience than that spiritual moment when the spirit of Christ testified to me that the Book of Mormon is true,” Larry Echo Hawk told the audience, which stretched back through the spacious sanctuary and into a gymnasium in the rear.

Echo Hawk’s tear-stained testimonial stands out for a couple of reasons: The White House normally doesn’t dispatch senior staff to bare their souls, and Mormons hew heavily Republican. It’s not every day a top Democrat speaks from a pulpit owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

And yet the presentation by Echo Hawk, then head of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, is also a perfect symbol of a phenomenon that could culminate in Mitt Romney’s arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next year: The nation’s capital has become a Mormon stronghold, with Latter-day Saints playing a big and growing role in the Washington establishment.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • DC • Jon Huntsman • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

Text of Mitt Romney's commencement address at Liberty University
May 12th, 2012
02:29 PM ET

Text of Mitt Romney's commencement address at Liberty University

Mitt Romney used the platform the commencement address at Liberty University to reach out to the evangelical community and discuss the importance he puts on faith. Per the Romney campaign, here are Romney's prepared remarks:

For the graduates, this moment marks a clear ending and a clear beginning. The task set before you four years ago is now completed in full. To the class of 2012: Well done, and congratulations.

Some of you may have taken a little longer than four years to complete your studies. One graduate has said that he completed his degree in only two terms: Clinton’s and Bush’s.

In some ways, it is fitting that I share this distinction with Truett Cathy. The Romney campaign comes to a sudden stop when we spot a Chick-fil-A. Your chicken sandwiches were our comfort food through the primary season, and there were days that we needed a lot of comforting. So, Truett, thank you and congratulations on your well-deserved honor today.

There are some people here who are even more pleased than the graduates. Those would be the parents. Their years of prayers, devotion, and investment have added up to this joyful achievement. And with credit to Congressman Dick Armey: The American Dream is not owning your own home, it is getting your kids out of the home you own.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney • Politics

For Liberty students, graduation a moment of celebration, with or without Romney’s speech
Over 14,000 students graduated from Liberty University in 2012. Around 6,000 attended the commencement ceremony.
May 12th, 2012
02:14 PM ET

For Liberty students, graduation a moment of celebration, with or without Romney’s speech

By Dan Merica, CNN

Lynchburg, Virginia (CNN) – When Michelle Berry got up this morning, she wasn’t thinking about Mitt Romney. For her, this day was a long time coming.

Berry, a 48-year old senior at Liberty University, has dreamed of college graduation for a long time. After finishing high school 30-years ago, Berry got her associates degree in nursing. Until today, a bachelor’s degree has eluded her.

“For me personally, it is all about that fact that this is my day,” Berry said. “I earned it.”

Berry’s graduation, however, wasn’t your normal pomp-and-circumstance moment. Liberty’s 2012 commencement has been shrouded in controversy since the evangelical Christian university announced that Mitt Romney, a Mormon, would be the keynote speaker.

Berry expressed a feeling that was similar to what many Liberty students walking in today’s graduation told CNN. Most students said that today is their day and whether they support Romney, the graduation speaker does not change the fact that they have worked countless hours for this moment and can’t wait for their tassels from left to right.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Christianity • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

Is the black church guilty of spiritual hypocrisy in same-sex marriage debate?
Delman Coates at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church is among a minority of black ministers in Maryland who have endorsed gay rights.
May 12th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Is the black church guilty of spiritual hypocrisy in same-sex marriage debate?

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Some people wonder if the black church will punish President Barack Obama for announcing support for same-sex marriage.

Here’s another question:

Why would the black church cite scripture to exclude gays when a similar approach to the Bible was used to enslave their ancestors?

“It’s so unfortunate,” says James Cone, one the nation’s most influential black theologians and author of “The Cross and the Lynching Tree.”

“The literal approach to scripture was used to enslave black people,” he says. “I’ve said many times in black churches that the black church is on the wrong side of history on this. It’s so sad because they were on the right side of history in their own struggle.”

Call it historical irony: Black church leaders arguing against same-sex marriage are making some of the same arguments that supporters of slavery made in the 18th and 19th centuries, some historians say. Both groups adopted a literal reading of the Bible to justify withholding basic rights from a particular group.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Culture wars • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics

Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

Advertisement
Advertisement