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Mormon speakers at RNC mark sharp departure from Romney's reticence on faith
Mitt Romney at his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.
August 30th, 2012
10:45 PM ET

Mormon speakers at RNC mark sharp departure from Romney's reticence on faith

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - After years of keeping quiet about his Mormon faith, Mitt Romney’s campaign thrust his church life into the national eye Thursday night, as a handful of Mormons took to the Republican National Convention’s stage to deliver moving testimonials about the Republican presidential nominee’s role as a member and leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

One couple that belonged to the same Massachusetts ward, or church, as Romney did recounted in a prime-time address how Romney tended to their 14-year-old son when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

“You cannot measure a man’s character based on words he utters before adoring crowds during happy times,” Ted Oparowski, the boy’s father, said on the RNC's final night, following speeches by such GOP stars as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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

Romney speech touches on faith
August 30th, 2012
06:24 PM ET

Romney speech touches on faith

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Tampa, Florida (CNN) - In a few hours the spotlight will shine on Mitt Romney at the Tampa Bay Times Forum and in excerpts released of his acceptance speech the GOP presidential nominee is shedding light on his personal faith.

In the excerpts, Romney a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, plans to speak often of his faith although the excepts make no mention of the LDS Church or Mormonism by name.

But Romney, who has both led a Mormon congregation as a bishop and a regional group of churches as stake president, will speak to specific practices of his church and his experiences.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Belief • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

August 28th, 2012
11:53 AM ET

Dolan to pray at Democratic National Convention

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)–-Cardinal Timothy Dolan has accepted an invitation to give the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, next week, which will also feature a nun in a speaking role.

Dolan, the archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, also will give the closing benediction at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, on Thursday.

When he accepted that invitation, Dolan said his appearance would be prayerful, not political, a sentiment reiterated by his spokesman in announcing his appearance at the DNC.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Bishops • Catholic Church • Church and state • Mitt Romney

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.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney • Politics

My Take: Romney should take reporters to church more often
Mitt Romney and his family attend church last weekend.
August 21st, 2012
09:20 AM ET

My Take: Romney should take reporters to church more often

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

Mitt Romney’s team invited reporters to go to church with him last Sunday, and The New York Times is reporting that the upcoming Republican presidential convention will showcase Romney’s faith in an effort to humanize him. So are we finally going to get a Mormon candidate for president?

Romney has been widely criticized for running against his past - against what he did at Bain Capital and as governor of Massachusetts, and against his prior views on abortion and health care. And while he hasn’t flip-flopped on his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he has been loathe even to mention it in public.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Church and state • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Opinion • Politics • United States

August 20th, 2012
05:48 PM ET

Obama, Romney open up about their faith in a church magazine

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have opened up about their religious faith to an unlikely source: Cathedral Age, the quarterly magazine of the Washington National Cathedral.

The interviews mark a rare instance of Romney talking about Mormonism, while Obama discusses his Christian faith in detail, referencing favorite Christian writers and Bible verses.

The magazine, which has a circulation of 30,000, submitted identical questions in writing to both campaigns and prints the responses in full in the latest edition of its magazine, which is out on Tuesday.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Church and state • Episcopal • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

Obama, Romney mark campaign-free Sunday by attending church
August 19th, 2012
01:20 PM ET

Obama, Romney mark campaign-free Sunday by attending church

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The two men locked in an intense campaign for the White House marked one of the rare days that neither has a campaign event by attending church services with their families on Sunday.

President Barack Obama, along with first lady Michelle Obama and their two daughters, Sasha and Malia, walked across Lafayette Square on an overcast Sunday in the nation's capital to attend mass at St. John's Episcopal Church.

During the sermon, the Rev. Michael Angell spoke about what he called "a summer of violence." He mentioned recent shootings, including the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that killed 12 people late last month and the shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, that killed six people earlier this month.

Readings during the service included Ephesians 5 and John 6. The first family took Communion from Angell following the sermon.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Mitt Romney • Mormonism

Top Catholic defends Obama invite against conservative criticism
Cardinal Timothy Dolan defended inviting President Obama to the 2012 Al Smith Dinner.
August 15th, 2012
03:22 PM ET

Top Catholic defends Obama invite against conservative criticism

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Cardinal Timothy Dolan, America’s most prominent Catholic official, defended on Wednesday the decision to invite President Barack Obama to a major Catholic dinner in the face of criticism from conservatives, saying the event is an opportunity for “friendship, civility and patriotism” amid a heated political campaign.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also has accepted an invitation to the Al Smith Dinner, an annual Catholic fundraiser in New York with a rich history. Since Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy spoke at the event in 1960, it has been a regular stop for presidents and presidential candidates of both major parties.

Some conservative Catholic groups had asked Dolan – the archbishop of New York and the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - to reconsider the Obama invitation in light of what they say are attacks on religious freedom by the administration.

“As faithful Catholics, we cannot set aside our deeply-held differences and put in any place of honor those who continuously attack the tenets of our faith, and even our very ability to practice that faith,” wrote President Father Shenan J. Boquet of Human Life International.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

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

My Take: Paul Ryan will provoke a debate on Catholic politics
Mitt Romney's VP pick, Paul Ryan, means there will be Catholics on both party tickets. Vice President Joe Biden is also a Catholic.
August 14th, 2012
10:41 AM ET

My Take: Paul Ryan will provoke a debate on Catholic politics

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

A lot has been written about the “Mormon moment” in American politics. But the election of 2012 is starting to shape up as a “Catholic moment,” too.

Now that Mitt Romney has tapped the former altar boy (and Rep.) Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate, there will be a Catholic on both major party tickets for the first time in U.S. history.

So as Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden articulate their views, we will be tuning into an intra-Catholic conversation pitting “social justice” Christians on the left versus “family values” Christians on the right.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Economy • Joe Biden • Mitt Romney • Politics • Poverty • United States

First on CNN: Atheist group targets presidential candidates' faith with billboards
A billboard criticizing Christianity is going up in Charlotte, North Carolina, host city of the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
August 13th, 2012
10:03 AM ET

First on CNN: Atheist group targets presidential candidates' faith with billboards

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - A prominent atheist group is using next month's Democratic National Convention to take aim at the presidential candidates' religion, putting up billboards targeting Mormonism and Christianity in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Our political system is rife with religion and it depends too much on religion and not enough on substance," said David Silverman, president of American Atheists, sponsor of the ads.

"Religion is silly and religion has components that are inherently divisive. … There is no place for any of that in the political system,” he said.

The billboards go up Monday in Charlotte and will stay up for a month at a cost of roughly $15,000. The Democratic convention runs September 3-6.

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

The billboard targeting Christianity features an image of Jesus Christ on toast and this description of the faith: "Sadistic God; Useless Savior, 30,000+ Versions of ‘Truth,’ Promotes Hates, Calls it ‘Love.’ ”

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Barack Obama • Christianity • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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