FROM Richard Cizik
Mitt Romney and the Mormon Church Mitt Romney speaks often about his faith in God and his loyalty to "the same church." But in 2007, when he made a carefully written speech about his religion, he mentioned the word "Mormon" only once. He seems "unable to talk about the very subject he seems to care about most, a lifelong source of spiritual, familial and intellectual sustenance." Despite his big money, years of organizing and a chattering-class consensus that he's the "inevitable" nominee, Romney has failed to connect with two-thirds of Republican voters. Should he be more open about his Mormon faith? How it would shape his conduct in office? We talk with fellow Mormons and others.
Is Mitt Romney Too Reticent about His Mormon Faith? Mitt Romney 's been called the "presumed front-runner," since the Republican campaign began, but most party members are looking for somebody else. Has Romney failed to tell them who he really is? He calls Mormonism key to his character and often mentions his faith in God and loyalty to "the same church," but he's refused to explain how his religion affects his public life. In his one speech on the subject, he used the word "Mormon" exactly once. He seems, "unable to talk about the very subject he seems to care about most, a lifelong source of spiritual, familial and intellectual sustenance." If he were more open, could he shake the impression that he's hiding something? Even some fellow Mormons say raising the question is not religious bigotry. We look for answers.
Does the Oil Spill Buck Stop with Us? It could be months before BP can stop the gusher of oil. Beaches, marshes and wildlife are threatened in the Gulf of Mexico, along with traditional lifestyles. But what about the lifestyles of all Americans? Could the spill be a wake-up call? Does this country's unceasing demand for oil have unacceptable consequences? If the benefits of the oil economy are not worth the cost, is it time to get serious about the kind of sacrifices that lead to real conservation? Is that a formula for going back to the 19th Century?
The African American Church: Intersection of Race, Religion, Politics Yesterday in Philadelphia, Barack Obama addressed the potent issues of race, religion and politics in a speech designed to allow his campaign get past the controversy created by some of the sermons of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. How did it come to this? We talk to the reporter who sparked the controversy, learn about the roots of the black church in America and its current role in African American society, and hear more about the difference in black and white Christian traditions.
The African American Church: Intersection of Race, Religion, Politics Yesterday in Philadelphia, Barack Obama addressed the potent issues of race, religion and politics in a speech designed to allow his campaign get past the controversy created by some of the sermons of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright . How did it come to this? We talk to the reporter who sparked the controversy, learn about the roots of the black church in America and its current role in African American society, and hear more about the difference in black and white Christian traditions.
The Last State of the Union Speech and 11 Months to Go President Bush delivered his final State of the Union address last night to a divided Congress. He got a full complement of standing ovations, but mostly from Republicans. The speech contained modest new proposals, positive language about Iraq and a call for bipartisanship on the economy. Democrats called it the last gasp of a failed presidency. Even Republicans were hard-pressed to celebrate. Senator John McCain didn't even show up. Was anybody listening? George W. Bush will be the most powerful man in the world until January of next year. What are the prospects for his lame-duck administration? What will history say about the "compassionate conservative" who ended up focused on partisanship and warfare?
Should the Private Beliefs of Candidates be Subject to Public Debate? Critics are taking a close look at the mormon religion and questioning its doctrines. Should a candidate’s private beliefs be used as a measure to determine performance in public office? Will Romney’s religion be an obstacle as he tries to woo the Christian right?
The Public Debate and Private Beliefs of Presidential Candidates John F . Kennedy supposedly answered "the religion question" 47 years ago with his successful run for the presidency. Today, the relig ion question has come up again, only this time the candidate isn't a C atholic. Mitt R omney is a front - runner in the R epublican field and a practicing Mormon whose religious beliefs are facing increasing examination. What role will religion play in the race? Can R omney overcome apprehensions about his religion? Will conservative C hristian leaders endorse him? Is it fair to judge a politician's public performance on his personal beliefs, beliefs that are outside the cultural mainstream?
America and Islam After September 11, President Bush told Americans not to blame all Muslims for the atrocity. But since the war in Iraq, bias against Muslims has increased. Since the US launched a "preventive attack" on Iraq four years ago, the news has been full of the ancient rivalry between Shiites and Sunnis, which produces deadly violence and sets nations against one another. Last year, the Gallup Poll found that 34% of Americans think US Muslims support al Qaeda. Just 49%--less than half--believe that American Muslims are loyal to the United States. Here, in a mostly-Christian country, how much do Americans really know about their six million Muslim neighbors, what they practice and what they believe? Will Barak Obama 's childhood exposure to Islam make it an issue in the presidential campaign?
Homosexuality: Nurture or Nature? Homosexuality is an issue in churches, state legislatures and even presidential elections--especially with anti-gay Christian conservatives in the Republican Party. Last year, Pastor Ted Haggard was fired from the 14,000-member New Life Church for admitting a three-year relationship with a male prostitute. Now, Haggard says, three weeks of intensive therapy have him on what he calls "the road to recovery." One friend says Haggard is "completely heterosexual." Such claims raise a lot of questions. We discuss a personal and scientific question with political implications.
Evangelicals and the Realities of Political Partisanship Former White House aide David Kuo says President Bush is a man of genuine faith, but he's more concerned with appearances than realities and he's promised conservative Christians much more than he's delivered. His advisors are using evangelicals for political purposes, but behind the scenes Christian leaders are tolerated rather than welcomed. Veteran Texas reporter Wayne Slater says he heard the President himself call conservative Christians "whackos." Those revelations come as Republicans are struggling to get their voters out to the polls. So, what's the real message to the religious right? Are they surprised that politics is a cynical game? Who's using whom? We hear from Kuo and Christian evangelicals.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?