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5 faithy players to watch at the Republican National Convention
The Rev. Samuel Rodiguez, an evangelical leader, closes the Republican convention on Thursday.
August 28th, 2012
10:01 AM ET

5 faithy players to watch at the Republican National Convention

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The speakers at this week's Republican National Convention include prayer givers, Mormon leaders and politicians famous for their appeal to religious voters.

Here are five faithy players circulating in Tampa, Florida, this week, including those with prominent speaking roles and others who are organizing behind the scenes:

1. The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez. The president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Coalition, Rodriguez has blasted Republicans like Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer for taking a tough line on illegal immigration and has knocked the broader GOP for opposing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. But Rodriguez is closing the Republican National Convention's first day with a prayer Tuesday, helping to give presumptive nominee Mitt Romney entrée to the Latino community, a swing voting bloc that has largely abandoned the Republican Party over immigration policy in recent elections. Rodriguez says he’s planning “a prayer for reconciling righteousness with justice, truth with civility, Billy Graham’s message with Dr. King’s march.”

2. Ralph Reed. He pioneered socially conservative outreach for the Republican Party, leading the Christian Coalition in the 1990s and helping George W. Bush organize evangelicals and Catholics for his 2004 re-election campaign. Now, Reed wants to bring that organizing into the Internet era, as head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Reed’s group held a convention kickoff event Sunday that drew the likes of Newt Gingrich and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. One of Reed’s key goals in Tampa and for the next couple of months: keeping peace between the tea party and the Christian right, whose members don’t always see eye to eye on priorities.

3. Ken Hutchins. A retired chief of police in Northboro, Massachusetts, Hutchins is a Mormon who got to know Romney through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hutchins will deliver the opening prayer for the final night of the convention, part of a new attempt by Romney's campaign to humanize him by talking about his role as a leader in his church. As a Mormon leader in Massachusetts, Romney tapped Hutchins for key leadership roles; their friendship shows how the millionaire candidate developed close ties to middle-class folks. At least one more of Romney’s Mormon friends will be speaking Thursday, signaling a shift for the candidate, who for months steered clear of conversations about his religion.

4. Mark DeMoss. In the 1980s, DeMoss was Jerry Falwell’s right-hand man, with a front-row seat on Falwell’s successful effort to bring evangelical Christians into what had been seen as a dirty, ungodly business: politics. Today, DeMoss is trying to spark his own political revolution: getting evangelical Christians to support a Mormon for president. As a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, DeMoss has spent years doing intensive outreach to the evangelical world on Romney’s behalf. DeMoss argues that if evangelical Christians are willing to be treated by a Mormon doctor or fly with a Mormon pilot, they should be OK with voting for a Mormon commander-in-chief.

5. Cardinal Timothy Dolan. The highest-profile Catholic in America, Dolan is bucking church protocol in delivering the closing prayer of the convention on Thursday, just after Romney speaks. Usually, it’s the local Catholic bishop that offers such prayers. Dolan is the archbishop of New York and the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. His presence at the RNC strengthens the Catholic hierarchy’s bond with the GOP at a time when the church has come out full-bore against the Obama administration’s requirement that insurers give no-cost contraception to virtually all employees. But Catholics, a crucial swing voting bloc, are known for not necessarily following the bishops on matters political.

- CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney • Politics

soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Justin

    Check out this hilarious song about Mormons......

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR4En09lKmI&w=640&h=360]

    September 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  2. Agnostic Atheism is Healthy for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    School has begun, and now more than ever, we have to think about young, impressionable minds. Time to make sure we are building strong minds.

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and let's them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, are just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds, and don't run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, disserving society).

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.

    mama kindless

    August 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  3. Tim

    http://www.indiegogo.com/hopeheal

    August 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  4. Nance

    "DeMoss argues that if evangelical Christians are willing to be treated by a Mormon doctor or fly with a Mormon pilot, they should be OK with voting for a Mormon commander-in-chief."

    How can I be sure that a Mormon doctor won't use parts of me in Mormon rituals? How can I be sure that a Mormon pilot won't crash his plane because his God commands it? How can I be sure they won't baptize me secretly in absentia? Won't a Mormon commander-in-chief encourage us to become Mormons?

    August 29, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  5. sedi

    No one to represent Islam or to raise prayers to Allah for the country and the RNC? What gives? There are 3 million Muslims living in the U.S.

    August 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Ronald Regonzo

      You do not acknowledge the enemy while we are at war. Romney /Ryan 2012

      August 30, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  6. minimum1

    I'm surprised that Ralph Reed was even allowed to come to the convention after his double dealing was exposed in the Jack Abramoff scandal.

    August 29, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  7. CNN Belief Blog Editorial Staff

    We at CNN would like to apologize for the word "faithy". Apparently our Junior Editor For Pre-Mesopotamian Fatihs And Their Impact On Republican Policy, Mrs. Edna Bob Clampett, let her son Cleetus use the computer to check out the animal porn website Rush Limbaugh recommended, and he somehow posted "faithy".

    The correct word is "farty". Please insert that into this fine example of in-depthy journalism. Thank you.

    August 29, 2012 at 3:50 am |
  8. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    They are skipping Muslim prayer at the RNC but Muslim voters are going to play a crucial role this November. Vote Obama.

    Pray Allah. Allah O Akbur.

    August 28, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • ann_c

      Pray tell me, will Democrats give Muslim prayer at their convention? I don't see it in their convention schedule.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Peter

      Why have any prayer at all. It's at best a waste of time, and at worst, a delusion.

      August 29, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  9. Alvin the Chipmunk's Search for Meaning and Waffles in the Universe

    "Faithy"? Is that like "truthy"?

    August 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Peter

      Faithy? I thought it was Frothy!

      August 29, 2012 at 1:26 am |
  10. Bill Nye

    Can't you see what's happening here? Atheists are supposed to be the bastions of rational thought in America. You are being gulled. "OOOH! Creationism! So sparkly!" Meanwhile the RNC isn't even trying to disguise the motives of the ones who WILL have our kids studying that crap in schools. They will stack the courts and we'll have to live with it for a generation.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  11. ann_c

    There is such a word as "faithy"? Is that in Webster's dictionary or what?

    Please, if you must use the word to describe people with a religious faith, use the phrase "persons of faith" or "religious folks", but "faithy" is a wimp word that isn't gonna get readers to take your words seriously, Mr. Gilgoff.

    And you're CNN's religion editor???

    God save us from wimpy English.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  12. NorthVanCan

    It's a good thing that the GOP are closely associated with the religious right. That gives the Demarcates every chance at winning.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  13. Ronald

    The Republican Party is a WHORE. It is compromising its Christian core. It has flung its virgin daughters to the rabble scum and it will sacrifice anything to claw its way into power just one more time. This time it brings the Mormon AntiChrist. See them for what they are. Romney/Ryan 2012!

    August 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  14. Jack

    Greetings folks. Everyone is cordially invited to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    August 28, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  15. MrHighMighty

    "Evangelical" Republicans should ask themselves: Would Jesus vote for someone who denies His Deity? Would Jesus vote for someone who denies the fallen and depraved nature of man? Would Jesus vote for someone who believes man can overcome sin with works? Would Jesus vote for someone who accepts a false Gospel, a favorite tool of Satan? If "evangelicals" are going to vote for a Mormon, they lose any defense they have remaining against accusations of their hypocrisy and false motives.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • joelcannon

      @MrHighMighty, Mormons are distinct from Evangelicals, but the examples you list are incorrect. As counter-examples, please refer to –

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Articles_of_Faith_(Latter_Day_Saints)

      We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

      We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

      We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

      We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • MrHighMighty

      @Joel Cannon, the point of my post was that if "Evangelicals" are going to base their political decisions on their religious beliefs, then they must do it 100% of the time or not at all, or they expose themselves as not true believers, hiding their actual motives for their positions behind a cloak of religion. Such is the folly and danger of dragging God into the vile realm of man's politics.

      But anyway, your post raises a larger point. My examples were correct, and your adherence to false doctrine makes you blind to the truth that your statements actually confirm mine. You are a perfect example of why the Bible is full of warnings about false teachers leading good men astray, by adding to, subtracting from, and distorting the Gospel, to fit their human desires.

      Your statement regarding the Trinity confirms my point that Romney does not accept the divine eternal nature of Jesus Christ. The Mormons' "Trinity" is a divided God. Mormons do not believe in the eternal Trinity, they do not believe Jesus Christ is the personal presence of God, who is eternal and always was with God and always was God. Satan delights when men accept such devaluation of Jesus, because it would make His death and resurrection inadequate to redeem imperfect man.

      Your statement that we are not punished for Adam's sins is directly contrary to the events in Eden and to man's hopeless fallen nature that is described repeatedly throughout Scripture. Man is born in sin, and no man will ever please God by works. Satan wants man to think that they can avoid God's wrath by following certain rules and rituals. Romney has bought into Satan's deception, as I implied. Good works by man is a result of God's grace only, not something for man to raise himself by or to earn God's favor. Your statements confirm mine that Mormons believe their works can overcome sin.

      Romney and the Mormons believe that man can achieve divinity, a blasphemous concept against our Creator the Holy God. It's similar to the way Satan tricked Adam and Eve to disobey God, making them think they could become like Him, and it is similar to Satan's desire to be equal to God, which caused the great war in Heaven and Satan's banishment to Earth, and ultimately Hell.

      August 29, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  16. JohnnyC

    Bishop Dolan is a "Faithy player?" Repent, CNN, repent.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    August 28, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Troll Alert

      People with dementia can repeat themselves over and over again, by telling a repeat a word or phrase.

      August 28, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • truth be told

      @troll
      I have noticed you are repeating yourself quite a bit. Self diagnosis or an unintended cry for help?

      August 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Troll Alert

      TBT

      August 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Troll Alert

      TBT – but you're doing the same thing, now what? More dimension examples on your part.

      August 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things".

      The evidence against your statements about prayer and atheism is overwhelming. Perhaps I can help by knowing how you arrived at these falsehoods.

      August 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      1.Prayer changes things. Proven. I prayed for jeebus, and he and I got it together. So ‘HeavenSent’ a night it was. ‘TruthBeTold’, it was just carnal. That ‘Deacon’ guy told me all about it. He had a ‘CatholicEngineer’ and someone from ‘MiddleRiver’ arrange it all. Changed me for sure. I’m carnal for jeebus.

      August 28, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • truth be told

      @hal
      Do you not follow up on the responses posted to your question or are you suffering from stupidity or short term memory loss?

      August 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • truth be told

      When an atheist steals a name the atheist soon degenerates to filth.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      "When an atheist steals a name the atheist soon degenerates to filth."

      EX ENLIGHTENED FORTUNE COOKIE WRITER ALERT!

      August 28, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • truth be told

      God I need meds.

      August 28, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      looks like this idiot "truth be told" interrupted a dialog that the hal 9000 was having with someone else. the hal 9000 probably didn't even notice since it was not correctly addressed. and it looks like the hal 9000 doesn't even respond to jibberish – it only seems to refute or correct false statements. interesting.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  18. Jack

    Hello. Everyone is cordially invited to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    August 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  19. Agnostic Atheism is Healthy for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    mama kindless news update: mama kindless for the first time in many years fell in love with a man named Bill Nye just yesterday. now this famous Mr. Nye is too young for me, but I guess you could say we have a spiritual affinity. my goodness.

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and let's them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, are just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds, so you don't see them running and hiding their misdeeds within some religion (and by doing so, disserving society).

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.

    mama kindless

    August 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
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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.