You have to love this video, now posted at Politico, which shows Mitt Romney making the rounds of a diner in New Hampshire. He sees two older gentlemen and sits down to join them, noticing that one has a cap that identified himself as a Vietnam Veteran. But, after some banter about their respective ages, the diner asks Romney about gay marriage and the always unflappable Romney begins to squirm: This is not turning out how he expected it to turn out. The older Vietnam Vet is having breakfast with his husband. To his credit, Romney respectfully disagreed with the man, he did not insult him, nor get peevish. But, he sure looks like he wants to run out the door, chastise his advance people, and then crawl out of his own skin.
I called attention last week to Rick Perry's ad in which he charges President Obama with conducting a "war on religion." Below, I print the text of the President's remarks at the annual "Christmas in Washington" concert last night. Tell me, Gov. Perry, is this what a war on religion looks and sounds like?
7:31 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Good evening. Thank you. Thank you. Everybody, please, have a seat.
Good evening, everybody. I just want to start by thanking all the folks who have joined us at the National Building Museum. Let’s give it up for our host, who also happens to be the host of the best late night show on TBS, Conan O’Brien. (Laughter and applause.) And I want to thank all the spectacular artists and choirs and glee clubs who have made this such a spectacular evening. Please give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)
In this morning's Real Clear Religion, Mark Judge has an article, unbiasedly titled "How Catholic University Rid Itself of Father Curran." (N.B. My use of the adverb "unbiasedly" should be read a drenched in derision.)
That article, among other flaws, contains this sentence: "Something of a con man and obviously obsessed with sex, he made the authorities at Catholic University look like doddering saps."
I had Father Curran as a professor in 1986. He was, hands down, the toughest, most demanding professor I had. I did not always agree with his views, but he was a wonderful professor. When he finished his lecture on Lutheran ethics, you were convinced that the last words on ethics had been stated. Until the next week when, presenting class ic Thomistic teachings on ethics, you understood that they had rendered the last word on ethics. He had that gift, essential but increasingly rare in the modern academy, of being able to sympathetically present views other than his own.
The controversy continues surrounding Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius’s decision not to make Plan B, the morning after pill, available to girls under the age of seventeen without a prescription. As I noted last week, critics of the decision espouse a new religion, scientism, and believe that anything the high priests of the laboratory conclude is safe and effective must be just fine.
Robert P. Jones, of the Public Religion Reserach Institute, looks the evangelical attitudes towards the candidacy of Newt Gingrich, the gender differences among evangelicals on the issue of marital infideltity and, critically, the need for Gingrich to consistently work in his redemption narrative if he wants to win over evangelical voters. Jones' analysis is, per usual and as expected, spot-on and highly instructive.
And, you have to love the quote from Pastor Jeffress: "I think there’s now an evangelical tri-lemma. Do you vote for a Mormon who’s had one wife, a Catholic who’s had three wives, or an Evangelical who may have had an entire harem?" Jeffress made his remarks before Cain dropped out, but it is more than a little ironic, is it not, that the candidate with one wife is the Mormon.
Over at the Christian Post, Napp Nazworth makes the case that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was trying to help the administration secure the Catholic vote by deciding not to allow girls as young as 11 to access Plan B without a prescription. It is true that the USCCB applauded the decision, but this has not been at the top of their agenda. The decision had less to do with the Catholic vote than it had to do with the parent vote. As the President said yesterday in his comments on the decision, this was a victory for common sense.
Peter Berkowitz, writing at the Wall Street Journal, has a splendid essay on why we need Civics classes in our schools. We wouldn't go to see a physician who had not been to Med School, why would we entrust our democracy to people unschooled in the basics of government?
At yesterday's Natonal Prayer Vigil for the Jobless and Jobs, our friend Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network, addressed the crowd. You can read my earlier article about the Franciscan Action Network here.
Here is the text of his remarks:
Statement by Patrick Carolan Executive Director Franciscan Action Network
Faith Advocates for Jobs National Prayer Vigil
For the Jobless and Jobs Prayer Service
12-08-2011 Upper Senate Park US Capitol
Brothers and Sisters Good Morning
Peace and All Good:
I would like to start with a reading from the Gospel of Matthew 25 34-40
Yesterday, the blogging was a little thin because I attended an all-day conference at the Pew Research Center on media coverage of religion and politics. The event brought together journalists and scholars to look at past coverage, analyze current polling data, and discuss issues regarding news coverage of religion.
John Green, a senior research adviser at Pew and professor at the University of Akron, and Alan Cooperman, the Pew Forum’s associate director for research, provided some interesting data on a survey conducted in the beginning of November. The Republican race has changed quite a bit since then – Cain was then in the lead and Gingrich had not begun his race to the top of the polls – but much of the data was still enlightening.
According to a new survey, President Barack Obama continues to receive high marks from both African-American and Latino voters. His numbers among Latinos are down slightly from 2008: Then, he received the votes of 67 percent of Latinos according to exit polls, but the new survey only shows him taking 64 percent. That downturn, however, comes before what you can expect will be some hard-hitting ads about the increasingly virulent anti-immigration stances of the various GOP candidates. Key states such as Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina and Florida may all depend on how well Obama does among Latinos.