Over at Christianity Today, Karen Swallow Prior has an article about the relaxation of the dress code at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University and, more importantly, the broadening of the school's understanding about how to engage the culture, moving behind the political agenda of the school's founder.
One of the fruits of the Second Vatican Council (about which I think we can all agree, or at least almost all) was a renewed emphasis on ecumenism. Yesterday's address to the Synod Fathers by the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams would have been unthinkable fifty years prior. You can read the full text here.
The hard part about determining a “winner” in these debates is that there are two audiences the candidates have in mind and while it is fairly easy to judge how a candidate’s performance did or did not excite the base of his or her party, the effect on undecided voters is more difficult to assess. Some undecided voters are ambivalent. Some of known as “low information” voters – they were probably watching the playoffs but will see clips of the debate in the days ahead. Some undecided voters are deeply skeptical about politics per se.
Also over at RNS, Mark Silk looks at the latest polling data from Ohio and the relative lack of enthusiasm for Mr. Romney among evangelicals. He notes that McCain did better among white evangelicals than Romney is doing today. I would also note that on election night in 2004, the Kerry campaign was convinced they had won the state because they had met or exceeded their turnout numbers in Cleveland and other key Democratic districts.
Daniel Burke and David Gibson, at RNS, have a great article on tonight's first-ever debate between two Catholic candidates for national office. They also link to Melinda Henneberger's wonderful piece in yesterday's Washington Post.
Distinctly Catholic: I was only 8 months old on the day the Second Vatican Council opened. Yet in a very real way, my adult life has been spent within the council's bosom.
Democrats for Life of America has up a list of pro-life Democrats it is supporting. You can find their list here.
Over at Religion & Politics, Tiffany Stanley, who edits the online journal from the Danforth Center, has a report on "Pulpit Freedom Sunday." This is the day that a variety of pastors explicitly break the law which prohibits all 501 (c) 3s, including churches, from engaging in partisan endorsements. Full disclosure: I am on the advisory board at R &P.
There are few things better than driving through the New England countryside in the summertime with the windows open, the fresh air coming through the trees, the smells of the forests inland and the sea along the shore. But, this summer, round a bend in the road near my home, just before the state forest, a skunk had been killed and the windows had to go up as the putrid aromas filled the car.
A diverse groups of theologians and academics have penned a statement in advance of tomorrow night’s vice presidential debate that squarely, coherently, and, I think, decisively makes the case that Congressman Paul Ryan’s Ayn Rand, libertarian sensibilities, and the policies that flow from them, are incompatible with Catholic social teaching. You can find the full statement “On All of Our Shoulders” by clicking here.