Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
(CNN) – There are a lot of things I am sick of hearing after massacres such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Here are six of them:
1. “It was God’s will.”
There may or may not be a God, but if there is, I sure hope he (or she or it) does not go around raising up killers, plying them with semiautomatic weapons, goading them to target practice, encouraging them to plot mass killings and cheering them on as they shoot multiple bullets into screaming 6- and 7-year-old children. Much better to say there is no God or, as Abraham Lincoln did, “The Almighty has his own purposes,” than to flatter ourselves with knowing what those purposes are.
(CNN) - Responding to the deadly mass shooting Friday in Newtown, Connecticut, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said new laws regulating guns won't deter such shootings, linking a lack of religious discussion in the classroom to increased violence in schools.
"We ask why there's violence in our school but we've systematically removed God from our schools," Huckabee said on Fox News. "Should we be so surprised that schools have become such a place of carnage? Because we've made it a place where we don't want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability."
"That we're not just gonna have to be accountable to the police if they catch us but one day we stand before a holy God in judgment. If we don't believe that, then we don't fear that," he said.
"People are going to want to pass new laws," Huckabee continued. "This is a heart issue ... laws don't change this kind of thing."
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – At first blush, it’s just another standard-issue political rally.
Inside Mitt Romney’s Iowa headquarters – a former Blockbuster store on a commercial strip outside downtown – Romney and his wife, Ann, are introduced by former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty and his wife, Mary.
“It is an honor to be supporting Gov. Romney and Ann,” Mary Pawlenty tells the crowd of a couple hundred, a silver cross dangling from her neck. “They are good people, they share our values – these are people that we are delighted to call friends.”
How Mitt Romney's faith shaped him
A few moments later, Mitt Romney mentions his five sons and hands his microphone to 36-year-old Josh, who calls his dad “my hero.”
“He taught me my great love for this country,” Josh says, “and my great love for my family.”
Sounds like typical political posturing, right? Many Americans wouldn’t give such gestures a second thought.
But experts on religion and politics say the message to one particular subculture – evangelical Iowans – is clear: Mitt Romney may be Mormon, but he shares evangelical Christian values, including a rock-solid commitment to family, and counts high-profile evangelicals like the Pawlentys as friends and supporters.
(CNN) - With former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s announcement this weekend that he won’t seek the presidency, one of the largest voting blocs in the Republican Party is now officially up for grabs: evangelical Christians.
As a presidential candidate in 2008, Huckabee - a Baptist minister who focused on faith-related issues like opposition to abortion - rode evangelical support to victory in Iowa and seven other states during the primaries and caucuses. John McCain eventually won the GOP nomination.
With Huckabee on the sidelines, other Republican White House hopefuls will have a better chance of picking up evangelical votes, which accounted for more than half the GOP electorate in Iowa and South Carolina in 2008, according to polling.
“Mike Huckabee had virtually unprecedented appeal among evangelicals in the Republican Party,” says Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. "[His] announcement leaves a huge void among one of the most potent constituencies in the GOP at a time when the race is highly fluid and arguably wide open.
Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
American politicians used to travel to Iowa and New Hampshire, home to the first presidential caucuses and primary, to test the waters for a White House bid. In this election cycle, however, Israel is the place to tip your toe in those waters, at least for Republican hopefuls.
In recent months, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Haley Barbour and Rudy Giuliani have all visited the Holy Land. Yesterday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announced that she will be traveling to Israel over the weekend to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Palin, who was attacked during her 2008 vice-presidential bid for lacking foreign policy experience, has beefed up her travel resume over the last couple years. In 2009 she visited U.S. troops in Kosovo and Germany and addressed a conference of investors in Hong Kong.
Last year she traveled with the Rev. Franklin Graham to Haiti.
If President Obama is looking for a conservative endorsement, he might find it from potential GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee – at least on the issue of family values.
During a speech at the National Press Club Thursday, Huckabee said it's time for some conservatives to quit questioning the president's Christian faith and added he thinks Obama is a role model for the "primacy of the American family."
"He has personally articulated, not once but numerous times, of his Christian faith. I take him at his word. I have no reason not to. For us to continue to dwell on that is missing the point. I have no disagreement with President Obama as a human being. In fact, I will go so far to say one of the things I respect very much is the role model that he has served as a husband and father," the conservative Republican said during the midday speech in Washington, DC.
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.