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My Take: When evangelicals were pro-choice
The author notes that evangelical Christians were once largely pro-abortion rights.
October 30th, 2012
05:54 PM ET

My Take: When evangelicals were pro-choice

Editor's Note: Jonathan Dudley is the author of "Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics."

By Jonathan Dudley, Special to CNN

Over the course of the 2012 election season, evangelical politicians have put their community’s hard-line opposition to abortion on dramatic display.

Missouri Rep. Todd Akin claimed “legitimate rape” doesn’t result in pregnancy. Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock insisted that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

While these statements have understandably provoked outrage, they’ve also reinforced a false assumption, shared by liberals and conservatives alike: that uncompromising opposition to abortion is a timeless feature of evangelical Christianity.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Abortion • Catholic Church • Christianity • Evangelical • My Take • Opinion

Survey: Catholics divided on political issues, as adherent numbers decline
The divide between social justice Catholics and social issues Catholics became most evident during this years debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan.
October 22nd, 2012
05:44 PM ET

Survey: Catholics divided on political issues, as adherent numbers decline

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – As important as the Catholic vote is in the 2012 election, a new survey finds that the group is far from monolithic and is not largely focused on the issues that get a lot of attention from church leaders – abortion and gay marriage.

Among the Catholics surveyed by the Public Religious Research Institute, 60% believe the Church should focus more on social justice issues and their obligation to the poor, even if it means focusing less on social issues like abortion and right to life.

Thirty-one percent say the opposite – they favor social issues over social justice issues.

Even among Catholics who attend church weekly or more, 51% say the Church should stress social justice issues over strictly social issues. Thirty-six percent said the opposite.

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- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Abortion • Barack Obama • Catholic Church • Mitt Romney • Politics • Polls

Question on Catholicism, abortion, makes for dramatic moments in vice presidential debate
October 12th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Question on Catholicism, abortion, makes for dramatic moments in vice presidential debate

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) – It was the first-ever debate between two Roman Catholics vying for a White House perch, and in Thursday’s face-off between Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, the question was put plainly: How does your faith shape your position on abortion?

It’s one of the most divisive questions in American politics, and the query from debate moderator Martha Raddatz, asked near the end of the sole vice presidential debate, set the table for some of the night’s most personal and poignant moments.

“I don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith,” said Ryan. “Our faith informs us in everything we do.”

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Abortion • Catholic Church • Joe Biden • Paul Ryan • Politics

My Take: Obama pledged to dial down the culture wars. What happened?
The author says that Obama has let down antiabortion Democrats.
September 6th, 2012
11:30 AM ET

My Take: Obama pledged to dial down the culture wars. What happened?

Editor's note: Michael Sean Winters writes the blog "Distinctly Catholic" for the National Catholic Reporter and is the author of "God's Right Hand: How Jerry Falwell Made God a Republican and Baptized the American Right."

By Michael Sean Winters, Special to CNN

Four years ago, anti-abortion Sen. Robert Casey addressed the Democratic National Convention.

“Barack Obama and I have an honest disagreement on the issue of abortion,” he said. “But the fact that I am speaking here tonight is testament to Barack’s ability to show respect to the views of people who may disagree with him… he’ll pursue the common good by seeking common ground rather than trying to divide us.”

The next day, speaking to fellow anti-abortion Democrats, we all admitted we had been moved to tears by Casey’s speech.

As candidate and as president, Obama promised he would try and heal the culture wars.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Abortion • Barack Obama • Politics

Conservative Christians rally around Akin in face of GOP criticism
Rep. Todd Akin has defied GOP pressure to get out of the U.S. Senate race in Missouri.
August 23rd, 2012
01:12 PM ET

Conservative Christians rally around Akin in face of GOP criticism

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – Even as the official Republican Party continues to try to derail Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin over his remarks about “legitimate rape,” a powerful force within the GOP has begun rallying to the candidate’s side: the party’s socially conservative base.

Powerful Christian activists in the GOP have begun pushing back against party leadership, alleging it has gone too far in trying to thwart Akin and that it is attempting to sideline issues that social conservatives care about, such as abortion.

The criticism is creating major tensions between the mainstream Republican Party and a key part of its base days before the GOP’s convention is set to open in Tampa, Florida.

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Abortion • Politics • Tea Party

August 22nd, 2012
12:25 PM ET

Anti-abortion movement stands by 'no exceptions' orthodoxy amid controversy

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – Both Todd Akin’s claim that women’s bodies can prevent conception in cases of “legitimate rape” and the GOP’s newly-adopted platform language calling for a constitutional ban on abortion have provoked controversy for largely the same reason: They showcase the belief that all abortions should be illegal, without exception.

But even as Democrats and abortion rights groups use the controversies to reinforce allegations of a Republican-led “war on women,” don’t expect the anti-abortion movement to back away from calls for all abortions to be illegal - even for women impregnated by rape or incest.

“Philosophically, the consensus is very clearly that life is life and that it should be not be taken and that abortion is not a compassionate response to something terrible, even like rape,” said Marvin Olasky, the editor in chief of World magazine, an influential evangelical publication.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Abortion • Politics

Survey: Among black, Hispanic Americans, complexity reigns on abortion issue
July 26th, 2012
11:36 AM ET

Survey: Among black, Hispanic Americans, complexity reigns on abortion issue

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - A large majority of black and Hispanic Americans identify as both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” when it comes to abortion, according to a survey released Thursday. The poll finds that both minority groups are more likely than Americans in general to embrace or to reject both labels.

Large majorities of African-Americans identify both as “pro-life” (71%) and “pro-choice” (75%), according to a Public Religion Research Institute survey released Thursday. Hispanic Americans harbor similarly complex views on abortion, with 77% identifying as “pro-life” and 72% calling themselves as “pro-choice.”

The survey found that 52% of black Americans and 47% of Hispanic Americans acknowledge that they embrace or reject both labels, proportions that are higher than those for Americans overall. Thirty seven percent of all Americans embrace both labels or neither label.

The numbers show that most people see the pro-life and pro-choice identifiers through their own unique prisms, says Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Abortion • Black issues • Latino issues • Race • United States

May 18th, 2012
02:58 PM ET

Health secretary addresses health care, religious freedom in protested graduation speech

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – In an anticipated and controversial address Friday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius delivered a speech that blended inspirational messages to graduates with a discussion of public policy's tough decisions, including health care and honoring religious freedom.

Her speech at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute awards ceremony had been considered controversial by conservative Catholic organizations that saw her appearance as the university validating her positions on abortion and contraception.

The speech did not mention the controversy directly, but Sebelius did address faith in public life in a section of the speech devoted to John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president of the United States.

"Kennedy was elected president on November 8, 1960," she said. "And more than 50 years later, that conversation, about the intersection of our nation's long tradition of religious freedom with policy decisions in the public square, continues."

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- Dan Merica

Filed under: Abortion • Bishops • Catholic Church • Faith Now • Health • Health care

Two leading social conservative groups back Romney
April 12th, 2012
03:14 PM ET

Two leading social conservative groups back Romney

By Paul Steinhauser, CNN Political Editor

Washington (CNN)–Two leading national anti-abortion organizations Thursday endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president.

The moves may be the first indications of social conservatives coalescing around Romney after their first choice, Rick Santorum, dropped out of the race.

In backing the former Massachusetts governor and all but certain GOP presidential nominee, both National Right to Life and the Susan B. Anthony List highlighted what they called Romney's strong "pro-life" positions and criticized President Barack Obama for what they call a "pro-abortion agenda."

"On pro-life issues, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama provide a stark contrast. As the country's most pro-abortion president, Barack Obama has pursued a radical pro-abortion agenda," said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. "It is now time for pro-life Americans to unite behind Mitt Romney. For the sake of unborn children, the disabled, and the elderly, we must win."

Read the full story on CNN's Political Ticker.
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Abortion • Belief • Christianity • Mitt Romney • Politics

March 21st, 2012
10:45 AM ET

Progressive group starts training pro-abortion rights religious leaders

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – A Washington advocacy group training in-the-trenches religious leaders to speak out on hot-button issues like abortion is nothing new.

But a liberal beltway group training left-leaning clergy to speak out for abortion rights is.

“Religion does support a woman’s personal decision-making about whether she is ready to become a parent,” said Sally Steenland, director of the Faith Initiative at the Center for American Progress, a progressive group that launched its Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute on Tuesday.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Abortion • Politics

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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.

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