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. Warning

    See this man Romney for what he is. He has deceived many including the faithful Father Dolan.

    "He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. "

    Test Romney. See what spirit he is of.

    August 28, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  2. SED

    Which one of these 5 men (4 really) converted Mormon Romney to Christian Romney?

    August 28, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  3. Bootyfunk

    typo alert. article should read:

    Five Cult Leaders to Watch at the Republican National Convention

    August 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  4. The Second Coming of JFK!!!

    He's returned in our hour of greatest need. Mitt Romney is JFK!!!

    August 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  5. GoldenChild

    Which heaven will Cardinal Dolan go to?

    August 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Pam the ham what am likes spam to look glam

      Whichever one has the most little boys.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • GoldenChild

      Does Mr. Romney want little boys too?

      August 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  6. Pam the ham what am likes spam to look glam

    Whatever happened to Fluffy and Bippy ? (and Bucky) ?

    August 28, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Pam the ham what am likes spam to look glam

      Upside down Bucky that is.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  7. Pam the ham what am likes spam to look glam

    Better watch out. Tiimmy Dolan is there with the priests. Hide the boys.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  8. HeavenSent

    Boo hoo, I know from Moe Curly of the 3 stooges that nothing works. Those that believe in Him go with Him to eternity. I was going to fry some eggs but accidently used Raid rather than Pam. Horrors, earth quakes, floods, disasters are God's wrath against all of us, like in Lousiana which is in the south.


    August 28, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Pam the ham what am

      I am who am. I am the Pam. I eat lot's of Spam. I am on the lam. I like to fuvk the lamb. When I drive I hear a slam. My boyfriend says I look glam. All praise to Pam. I am who am.

      That Hispanic dude looks really scary.

      Can't they get a real job ? Instead of living off the sheeps, (or is the the ships) ?

      August 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • JannatSent


      Tommie Tom, *cough* Scotty I spent time watching boo hoo, boo hoo, now nothing that works for me. I feed my cats and dogs before I eat fried eggs. Horrors, kaboom kaboom kaboom are Allah's wrath against you infidels.

      Allah O Akbur

      August 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  9. ChristardMingle.com

    God knows what little boys and girls should be kidnapped r.a.p.e.d. and tortured.

    What kid’s need a good molesting. Where best to build death camps. Who the best war lords are to commit genocide.

    Who should be murdered and who shouldn't. What atrocities to enjoy.

    For him, it is like flipping channels on his big heavenly flat screen, enjoying all of life’s grief and pain from the comfort of his thrown, all the while loving us to death.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      throne lol

      August 28, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • HeavenSense

      God's plan" is the way that Christians traditionally explain things like amputations, cancer, hurricanes and car accidents.

      For example, if a Christian dies a painful and tragic death because of cancer, she dies as part of God's plan. Her death has a purpose. God called her home for a reason. Even if something bad happens to a Christian, it is actually good because it is part of God's plan.

      You can see how pervasive "God's plan" is by looking in Christian inspirational literature. For example;

      Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]

      There is also this:

      Regardless of the circ.u.mstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you.

      Under this view of the universe, God plans everything.
      Take a moment and think about this, "He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death." Let's examine one simple implication of this statement. What this means is that God has pre-planned every abortion that has taken place on our planet.

      If the concept of "God's plan" is true, you can first of all see that God wants us to be aborting children. Every single abortion is planned by God, so God must be doing it for a reason. Second, you can see that both the mother who requests the abortion and the doctor who performs it are blameless. Since it is God who planned the abortion of the child (God chose the "exact time" of the death, the mother and doctor are simply puppets who are fulfilling God's plan, are they not? What about all the Christians who are fighting against abortion? If abortion is part of God's plan, why are they fighting it? God is the all-powerful ruler of the universe, and his plan is for more than a million children a year to die in the United States through abortion.

      If God's plan is true, then each one of those abortions was meticulously planned by God.

      If God does not intend for us to perform abortions, is it then wrong that God has a plan? If God has a plan, is he not the direct cause of every abortion? Simply think it through, and you will begin to see the problems in this proposition.

      Think about Adolph Hit.ler. He was evil incarnate, and Hit.ler is well known for the atrocious things he did. What I would like you to do right now is to consider this statement: "Hit.ler is part of God's Plan." Think about this:

      He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]

      God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates. Every plant and every animal was planned by God, and every person was designed with a purpose in mind.

      If God has a divine plan for each of us, then he had a divine plan for Hit.ler too. It is when you stop to think about it deeply that the contradictions hit you.

      Now let's imagine that you say a prayer in this sort of universe. What difference does it make? God has his plan, and that plan is running down its track like a freight train. If God has a plan, then everyone who died in the Holocaust died for a reason. They had to die, and each death had meaning. Therefore, Holocaust victims could pray all day, and they would still die. The idea of a "plan" makes the idea of a "prayer-answering relationship with God" a contradiction, doesn't it? Yet Christians seem to attach themselves to both ideas, despite the irresolvable problem the two ideas create.

      Think about what God's plan means for you personally. If the plan happens to say that you will get hit by a bus tomorrow, or that terrorists will blow you up, or that you will be shot in the head four times, then that's what will happen. It would be the same with any disease. If you contract cancer this afternoon and die three months later, that is God's plan for you. Praying to cure the cancer is a waste. God plans for you to die, so you will die. He has pre-programmed the exact time of your death. There is nothing you can do to change the plan - no amount of prayer will help - because your death will have meaning and your death will cause side-effects that are also part of the plan.

      Who will you marry? You actually have no choice in the matter. God has pre-planned your wedding in minute detail. "God knew that those two individuals [your parents] possessed exactly the right genetic makeup to create the custom 'you' that he had in mind. They had the DNA God wanted to make you." Therefore, your spouse was pre-chosen by God for you so that you would create the children who are a part of his plan. You also have no choice in the number of children you will have - God has pre-planned their births.

      In addition, this sort of universe means that Hit.ler is blameless. Hit.ler was not "evil," because Hit.ler had no free will at all. Hit.ler was simply an actor forced to play his role in God's plan. God planned for millions of people to die in the Holocaust - he planned their deaths in exact detail. Hit.ler had to kill those people. Hit.ler was God's puppet in making that those millions of deaths happen right on schedule.

      In the same way then, every murderer is blameless. Since God has planned each of our deaths in exact detail, murderers are actually essential to God's plan. Why do we punish them? We should be rewarding them for doing their God-planned duty. What if you get r.a.p.ed tomorrow and get pregnant? God did that because he planned the exact time of that child's birth and death. God actually pre-planned your r.a.p.e, and the rapist was God's puppet. Rather than hating the rapist, we should celebrate God's plan.

      Do you believe that murderers and rapists should be rewarded? Do you believe that Hit.ler was sent by God to kill millions of people in the Holocaust? Do you believe that God is the direct cause of every abortion on this planet? Do you believe that you have no choice in your spouse or the number of children you have? Probably not. But that is what you are saying when you state that Hit.ler or cancer or anything else is part of "God's plan."

      If you think about it as an intelligent person, you will realize that the statement "It is part of God's plan" is one of those meaningless palliatives. When you sit down and think it through using your common sense, the statement makes no sense. That lack of sense shows us how imaginary God is.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  10. ChristardMingle.com

    Mitt Romney is out of touch with the poor!

    When I was a kid, we had to walk 80 miles to school every morning and 80 miles back. Both uphill carrying stone tablets because we couldn’t afford paper. Then it was time for chores, like plowing the North 40.

    We got up before we went to bed and had to sleep in a cardboard box in the middle of the street and hunt squirrels for our meals with a sling shot. And you know what? We LIKED it. We LOVED it.

    We didn’t even have shoes! It was really bad in the winter. The snow was 30 feet deep. I lost one toe to frost-bite every winter for ten years. I had to wear my older sister's hand-me-down dresses because my Mother's arthritis was so bad she could not sew any boys’ clothes. That is why I had to fight the class bully every day.

    Sometimes when there were no squirrels, we had to eat rocks for dinner. That was very difficult with no teeth (from the fights with the bully). And you know what? I liked it! I loved it! I was lucky to have it.

    The worst part was every night after walking 160 miles, plowing forty acres, chopping the fire wood and eating rocks that made my gums bleed. My parents would come out to the box where my sister and I slept in the middle of the road and jump up and down on top of us screaming "Die!" "Die" "Die" with a necklace made out of my dead toes swinging from my mother’s neck. And you know what. We liked it. We loved it. We were lucky to have it so good.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  11. Honey Badger Dont Care

    Should be ti tled "5 delusional people that no one should care about".

    August 28, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • nope


      August 28, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • yup


      August 28, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • yup yup

      @honeybadgerrrrr – – – – – @ @
      yup yup

      August 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  12. HeavenSent

    Not surprising the athiests are already out in force spewing their hate and lies. Do as the atheists do in this country to ensure the USA goes belly up. My enormous camel-toe has now engulfed two neighbors. You are too blind to see His truth whether I write it in street language or scripture form.


    August 28, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Topher

      This is old and lame. Move on.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Alien Orifice

      You go fake HeavenSent. Never stop! You are the funniest thing on the internet!

      August 28, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Huebert

      Pay no attention to Toper. I enjoy your contributions to Belief blog.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Pam the ham what am

      (how many are there really?)
      You are crazy nutty funny. Never stop. I love you.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  13. Reality

    And still the number one opening and closing prayer for both conventions:

    The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (references used are available upon request)

    August 28, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • ....


      August 28, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • ....


      August 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  14. Ronald Regonzo

    Politics IS religion. Romney / Ryan 2012

    August 28, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  15. The GOP Voucher Plan will include a "Legalize Euthanasia" clause and a free gun to commit suicide

    The seniors will need to commit suicide when their health care dollars run out. That's the GOP way!!!!

    August 28, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  16. GOP Word Association

    WORD = GOP Association
    Old People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Sick People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Poor People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Female People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Non-white People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Non-christian People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Unemployed People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Gay People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Glob of cells in a womb = Something we PRETEND to care about just to get votes.
    Gun Control = Something ELSE we PRETEND to care about to get dumb redneck votes.

    August 28, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    August 28, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • GOPisGreedOverPeople

      But it doesn't change republicans.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Ronald Regonzo

      Could it be that Republicans are already people of prayer. Romney /Ryan 2012 !
      There are only two types of people mentioned in the Bible, Republicans and sinners. Romney / Ryan 2012

      August 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Troll

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

      August 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • You're brainwashed!

      It just shows how loopy Christians like this are and why you should run away in the other direction. Keep up the great work of showing what's wrong with your religion......you're brainwashed!

      August 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  18. Topher

    I'm a Christian. What have I been deceptive about?

    August 28, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Alien Orifice

      Topher, the first step to recovery is admitting your are retarded.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Topher

      If I called myself that, would it help you to repent and trust Christ?

      August 28, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Alien Orifice

      See, you really are retarded.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Pam the ham what am

      Everything. Jeebus was a human. Your cult turned him into something he was not, and never claimed to be.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  19. sendai

    Mitt Romney has concealed himself behind a wall of Christians. Evangelical Christians, possibly the most deceptive sort. Think of a Matador with his cape and sword. The barrage of Christian verbiage is meant to distract us so that we can impaled. Rogered by this man who only represents wealth and privilege.

    August 28, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • nope


      August 28, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Reality

      "Rogered by this man who only represents wealth and privilege." Hmmm, was not JFK from the same class of wealth and privileged??????

      August 28, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Mitt Romney is the next JFK!!

      Mitt Romney is the next JFK!!

      August 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  20. Bob

    Sad that sky fairy stories such as Christianity have any bearing on our politics.

    August 28, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • spoken as one

      another useless ground fairy heard from

      August 28, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Veritas

      This is not supposed to be happening. Religion has no place in politics!

      August 28, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Topher

      Why doesn't it?

      August 28, 2012 at 10:45 am |
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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.