8 ways faith will matter at the Republican National Convention
Paul Ryan, left, is Catholic, while Mitt Romney is Mormon.
August 25th, 2012
06:58 PM ET

8 ways faith will matter at the Republican National Convention

By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors

(CNN)–For the next four days, the eyes of the political world will be on Tampa, Florida, the site of the Republican National Convention (which will now get started Tuesday, after Tropical Storm Isaac cancelled Monday's events).

Though politics will be the name of the game, it's a safe bet that religion will also play a major role. The convention opens with a prayer from a Hispanic evangelical leader and closes with a benediction from a Catholic cleric who's sometimes called "America's pope."

In between, balloons will drop on the first Mormon to be nominated by a major political party to be president of the United States. Here are eight ways faith will matter this week. What did we leave out? Let us know in comments and we'll expand our list as warranted.

1. The ghost of Todd Akin
Most people couldn't pick him out of lineup and he won't be attending the convention this week. But the Missouri Senate candidate who claimed that women could prevent conception in cases of "legitimate rape" opened a rift in the Republican Party, with GOP chieftains pressuring him to drop out while some powerful conservative Christian activists rally to his defense. Those activists are using the Akin episode to allege that the Republican Party wants quash their socially conservative agenda even as it happily accepts their votes. If the infighting continues into this week, there could be a battle for GOP's soul at a moment when the GOP wants to project unity.

2. The M word
Even now that he's talking more about his religious faith, Mitt Romney almost never refers specifically to Mormonism or to his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And yet Romney has held a series leadership positions in his church. Will the Republican Party continue to studiously avoid one of its presidential candidate's defining characteristics? Or will some convention speaker make a case for why Romney's Mormonism is an asset? Will Romney himself mention his religion as he accepts his party's nomination?

3. Ladies night (or week)?
For months, the GOP has been on the defensive, as Democrats say Republicans are waging a "war on women," a theme the Dems began sounding when the American bishops blasted the White House for its contraception mandate for insurance companies earlier this year. This week, Republicans face a delicate balancing act in trying to assuage the concerns of moderate women voters while also satisfying its religiously conservative base. (See ghost of Todd Akin, above). A big part of that mission falls to Ann Romney, the Republican nominee's wife, and to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, both of whom have choice speaking slots.

4. The possibility of a culture war speech
"There is a religious war going on in this country," former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan told the 1992 Republican convention in a primetime address. "It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as the Cold War itself. For this war is for the soul of America." There are still debates over whether the speech, which provoked a media frenzy, helped or hurt President George H.W. Bush, who would go on to lose to Bill Clinton. But the Republican Party is keen on avoiding such moments as it tries to win over independents this fall. There's some nervousness about what Rick Santorum will say in his convention address.

5. Religious liberty
Many conservatives are livid over the Obama administration's requirement that health insurers offer free contraceptive coverage, even for employees of Catholic institutions. Plus, talking up religious liberty is likely less of a turnoff for moderate voters than is talk about bans on abortion and gay marriage, traditionally the top concerns of religious conservatives. Catholics and evangelicals, two key voting blocs, have been buzzing about religious liberty for months, with mega-pastor Rick Warren recently canceling plans for a presidential forum with Obama and Romney and announcing plans for one on religious liberty instead.

6. Israel
When it comes to foreign policy, look for convention speakers to try outdo one another in pledging support for the Jewish State - and in railing against Obama for what they'll allege are his administration's shabby treatment of a key American ally. Israel is especially important to the GOP's evangelical base, some of whom see a biblical bond with the Jewish people and some who believe Israel must be in Jewish control before the Second Coming can happen. Mitt Romney included Israel as one of his marquee stops on his recent foreign trip, including a photo-op at Jerusalem's Western Wall.

7. Hurricane theology
Will some televangelist claim that Tropical Storm Isaac, which is headed toward the Gulf Coast, is God's way of punishing the GOP for insufficient piety? It wouldn't be the first time a prominent preacher blamed severe weather on American insubordinance.

8. "America's pope"
The convention's closing prayer will be delivered by Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who leads the American Catholic bishops and is sometimes referred to as America's pope. It's a good indication of just how important the Catholic vote is thought to be this year, with Catholics accounting for 1 in 4 Americans and considered to be the quintessential swing bloc. Whoever wins these voters will likely win the White House.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Mormonism • Politics

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soundoff (1,567 Responses)
  1. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Help some one help my Mohammad, he is burning in Hell.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  2. Ram Ram Ram

    Islamism is healthy for any other living things, but not for humans since no other living things give a $H|T to 72 hoors in Jannat if they die of unnatural death.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Cabot Looser

      Shame on my parents for not practing safe se x.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Mr Dick

      I am half muslim half atheist and I don't give a $H|T to 72 you-know-what! I live free American life, s ex, drugs, and rock 'n roll baby wooooo !!!!

      August 27, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Miss Ducky

      Uueeee Amma, your fact based courageous posts are making my bung hole hurt.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Mountain High

      LOL I knew it I knew it man, this Islam was a fake deal. Lying Bas tards. Hey Mohammad shove 72 up your...

      August 27, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  3. commentsguy

    Why do the right wingers love the jews? They betrayed Jesus and let him die ? Christianity never survived in Israel. It was exported. They Jews are using the Americans pure and simple...

    August 27, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      They are of the same pan, hindu Judaism, filthy secularism, denial of truth and Mithriac hindu's pagan of savior ism called christian's, do not follow truth absolute, but their hindu soul, criminal desire to make hinduism, denial of truth absolute a truth.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      for the record I am a Pakistani Sunni muslim and support Jihad against Hindus, Jews, Christians, Gays, Lesbians, and dogs.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  4. JAM

    The GOP's faith is shaped like a wallet!

    August 27, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  5. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    America has no enemies but hindu's, deniers of truth absolute God, enshrines in American conti tution labeled as Christianity, but hindu racist Mithra ism, savior ism in reality by hindu Jew's, filthy secular s,blood brothers of hindu Nazis. They hate hindu racist sign of swastika to hind humanity but pray to hindu pagan sign of hinduism, racism cross. Nothing but a curse on humanity.
    Convention of hindu's ignorant s, conserving not truth absolute enshrined in foundation of America principal of human equality but followers of hinduism, racism by faith, in human and un American, utter hindu's, idiots or hindu Magi's, criminal tricksters, selling hinduism, slavery for American on name of freedom in following of hindu Judaism, filthy secularism, but claiming to be following truth to hind, fool Americans. Shame to be called america's or human "HIS" desire.
    Hindu Mithra ism, pagan savior ism labeled as Christianity is an off shoot of hinduism, denial of truth absolute by hinduism, corruption of truth absolute by hindu Pharisee's, criminal self centered and promoted with sword by hindu criminal king's and their hindu pagan Magi' fortune teller Prophets to make humanity their gentile, slave, A hinduism, crime against humanity and truth absolute.
    Nazi racist ideology has its roots in hindu, pagan Egypt, ancestral home land of Saxons, meaning tied to or forged with essence, meanings god's, subcontinent never was part of hindu denial of truth absolute but hinduism, racism was imposed by force by hindu's, criminals of Egypt and Persia on nomadic population of subcontinent by declaring themselves to be god's, while native's of Europe were slaughtered to extinction by hindu Gaul's, criminal self centered after they were defeated as hindu, deniers of truth abolute Pharaoh's by the king's of Sudan. Letter X, Hinduism, forgery of word, tied to or forged with. hindu criminal sign of swastika is formed by joining of upright hindu criminal Pharaoh's pyramid and up side down on same axis, invisible pyramid of his hindu pagan Priest, crossing point of both pyramid's creates Swastika above burial chamber of hindu, pagan, self centered Pharaoh. Envisioned by hindu, pagan Zoroaster, preached by hindu, criminal Plato and displayed in Physical form by hindu sanatan, filthy goon Pythagoras. Presence of hinduism, racism is less than 3000 thousand years old in sub continent , not as hindu's, deniers of truth absolute hind, lie of 6000 years in their Hinduism, absurdity. hindu filthy sign of hinduism, pagan ism labeled as Star of David by hindu Jew's, pagan secular s has nothing to do with Israelite but top view of meeting of two hindu, fabricated pyramid to illustrate god hood of two hindu, criminal person's.
    Word Jew is based on Latin word Yahood, Je or Ja, Ye, or Ya, meaning from heart and mind base word for Yes in English, HOOD, habit or habitat, meaning, self centered or a secular, denier of truth absolute, such as King, or Pig, in disregard to truth absolute and Judaism, One who takes a wow to be in violation of truth by his intent, considering himself to be the God, the truth absolute, same as in hindu, denier of truth absolute, word hindu is based on Latin word hindrance, negativity, HAN, great, Hun, to be in greatness and hin, to be negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity, as in word Jew, a self centered or a criminal, otherwise known as a goon, a shaman. Judaism is not a religion but in opposition, defiance to truth absolute in self center ism.
    In divine language word hinduism, absurdity called religion does not exist, borne out of hindu Judaism, filthy secularism defiance of truth absolute of Persia and Egyptian hindu pagan origin , hindu Jew's criminal secular s pretending to be Hebrew, but Theen Allah, way of truth absolute, source for peace, Shalom among humanity, Quran quantifies it and Hidat explains the La, limit's absolute to reach peace Islam in life. hinduism, corruption of truth absolute labeled a bible has nothing to do with truth absolute but justification of hindu Mithra ism, filthy savior ism, foundation of hindu filthy hinduism,. racism.
    World can never have peace in presence of hinduism, denial of truth absolute, humanity need to work together for elimination of hindu's, criminals and their hinduism, illegality. .

    August 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      to keep the record straight I am a Pakistani Sunni muslim and support Jihad against Hindus, Jews, Christians, Gays, Lesbians, and dogs.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  6. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Religion's are hinduism, corruption of truth absolute, a hindu criminal way to deny accountability for their hindu, criminal deed's, devised by hindu Jew's, criminal secular s to make humanity their gentile, slaves.

    August 27, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      please don't call me racist but for the record, I am a Pakistani Sunni muslim and support Jihad against Hindus, Jews, Christians, Gays, Lesbians, and dogs.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  7. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Atheism is hinduism, absurdity of hindu Sanatan's, ignorant goons, nothing can exist without truth absolute, GOD, proven bu Quantum physics, try to be a particle of dust without truth absolute your self, have no doubt a hindu ignorant atheist, self centered and his hindu Judasim, ignorant secular ism have no practical value for human.

    August 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      I am not a racist. but for the record, I am a Pakistani Sunni muslim and support Jihad against Hindus, Jews, Christians, Gays, Lesbians, and dogs.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  8. ChurchState

    Bragging rights – the fastest growing religion? I personally have major issues about GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney being a devote member of a religion that has church leaders that do not seem to be concerned about the ethical issues of the Mormon Missionaries and LDS faithful members baptizing minor children into the Latter Day Saints (LDS) faith without the written consent of the child's parent(s). Unethical or religious freedom??? There also seems to be another accepted practice of the Mormon Missionaries and LDS faithful members of baptizing prosepective church members into the LDS faith after only three visits of Book of Mormon and other religious lessons. Don't most well known established religious require the person to live the faith of the religion for about six months before baptizing them. This is done to ensure the new faith is a good match for the prospective convert. Unethical or religious freedom??? What about the LDS practice of Proxy Baptism – baptizing deceased persons of other religions into the LDS faith without the written consent of the family members of the deceased (proxy LDS baptisms have been performed on past Catholic Popes and other top religious figures). Unethical or religious freedom??? It just all seems too questionable to me.

    August 27, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • David

      35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
      36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
      37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
      38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. (New Testament, Acts, Chapter 8)

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same church of Jesus Christ as the original one. If Phillip thought it ok to baptize after one lesson, why should we act differently today?

      August 27, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  9. HeavenSent

    Today I picked up a copy of Quran and went to relieve my upset stomach. Although there was nothing noteworthy inside, it was an interesting book. I extend my hand to grab a paper but there were none, an attempt by Satan to embarrass me. I close my eyes and ask God to send help, guess what!! no one but Quran itself came to help. I said thank you Quran for saving my asss. That evening, I lit a candle and said prayer to give Quran a place in heaven for self-sacrifice for a noble cause.


    August 27, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  10. mjgcfwiaw

    the rnc is a bunch of self rightious hack pancake flipers

    August 27, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  11. mjgcfwiaw

    so let me get this straight if I tell god to destroy evil in america and god sends a storm to the rnc convention who is evil the rnc or god

    August 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  12. David

    Obama is a man of division, as division comes from the spirit of division. As people are more divided under Obama, it's time to remove division and return back to a state of UNITY for the sake of good, as Unity comes by the SPIRIT of UNITY.

    August 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • God

      By unity do you mean more tax cuts for the rich and up to $2,000 more a year in taxes for the middle class? Because that is what Mitt's tax plan is...or by unity do you mean Paul Ryan's budget which balances the budget on the backs of the poor and middle class, and provides more loopholes for big business...is that your idea of unity?

      August 27, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Middle Class Guy

      Obama is the only one I see that gives a crap about the middle class and the poor.

      August 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  13. mjgcfwiaw

    how do they say death to america

    August 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • God

      how do they say death to American you ask...I think it's Romney/Paul 2012...yea, that would be it.

      August 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  14. RichardSRussell

    "8 ways faith will matter at the Republican National Convention"
    You'd think they'd be embarrassed to have this headline sprawled all over a national news site. It would be like saying "8 ways superst¡tion will matter", or "pseudoscience", or "wishful thinking", or "fairy tales".

    August 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  15. niknak

    god sent the hurricane because he does not like republicans.
    Prove me wrong.

    August 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • David

      Maybe. Let's see if he diverts it at the last moment.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • David

      The prince of this world has power to bring storms, so i think everyone is wrong, it's not God who bring any storm that brings suffering upon a people but it is the so called god, an evil god, the prince of this world that brings suffering upon a people, if anything it's this evil so called god that would bring such a storm upon a people of UNITY=RNC

      August 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Religious Nut Job


      Maybe. Let's see if he diverts it at the last moment.


      at the last minute...what?

      its already too late, they had to shorten and make lots of last minute changes. If god doesn't send a hurrican to mess with the democrat convention, then clearly he is voting for Obama.

      August 27, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • David

      Oh, look. God diverted the storm! So, what does that mean?

      August 27, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  16. David Nelson

    Conventions seem a bit pointless these days. As far as the tickets go, no Protestants. This is definitely not a Protestant nation any more. I think that is sad, and I grew up Catholic.

    August 27, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Barack Obama is a Protestant.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      No it doesn't. I prayed to have you go away, and here you are, with the same 3 brainless, lying words that you've been copying and pasting since the internet was invented.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • truth be told

      The only prayer God will listen to from you is the sinners prayer of repentance.

      August 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Tristan

      Going on social values alone, if the Republicans somehow win the election, the USA will basically be Iran West. How could the country that created baseball and brought us such wonders as the internet, Sonic Youth and the Pixies have this many mentally unstable and deluded people in it?
      If there was a God, I'm pretty sure he would have cleansed the earth of all religion by now. Otherwise he'd be totally evil.

      August 27, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  18. Jesus

    Yo yo what up homies....

    I fed the hungry.
    I took take of the elderly
    I provided free health care.
    I told you if you had two cows and your neighbor has none, give him one of yours.
    So I'm voting for the party that follows my teachings.
    Not the party's who's budget destroys everything I stand for.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  19. dionysusBeer

    Religious liberty? What about the religious liberty of religions that want to have safe, legal abortions and religions that want to be able to marry gay couples? Do their religious liberties not count? Is fundamentalist Christianity the only religion that gets to follow its rules and teachings? That doesn't sound like religious freedom at all to me.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      CHURCHES don't have freedom of religion, and more than corporations have freedom of speech. Rights and liberties accrue only to people, not to inst¡tutions.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Tristan

      DionysusBeer, you're absolutely spot on. Fundamentalist Christianity is no different to any fundamentalist take on religion. The only rights belong to those who follow it. There are no rights saved for those with different beliefs

      August 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  20. realbuckyball


    August 27, 2012 at 3:50 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.