Republicans

Hey journalists: Name a mainstream pro-life leader who didn't pound Trump the other day

Hey journalists: Name a mainstream pro-life leader who didn't pound Trump the other day

OK, raise your hands if you are surprised that Citizen Donald Trump appears to have had zero serious contact with the Right to Life movement, in either its conservative or progressive forms.

Ironically, the main people who know how tone-deaf he is on life issues are people who are actually in the movement. People outside the movement may actually think that Trump's verbal misadventures on MSNBC the other day raised edgy and important issues.

So here is another way of looking at this: Raise your hands if you are surprised that the Associated Press team put someone on this story who appears to have had zero contact with the pro-life movement and, thus, had no idea what that movement actually believes on issues linked to women who have had abortions?

Check out the top of this stunningly unbalanced -- the word "blind" would be a kind way of stating things -- AP report on the Trump fiasco:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Frustrated Republicans grappled with new fears about Donald Trump's impact on their party Wednesday, as the billionaire businessman's campaign rivals targeted his punitive plan for fighting abortion and extraordinary defense of his campaign manager, who police say assaulted a female reporter.
Concern rippled through Republican circles nationwide, yet few dared criticize the GOP front-runner directly when pressed, leery of confronting the man who may well lead their election ticket in November.
Their silence underscored the deep worries plaguing the party's leaders -- particularly its most prominent women -- who are growing increasingly concerned that a Trump presidential nomination could not only cost the 2016 election but also tarnish the party brand for a generation of women and young people.

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The good, the bad and the funny in media coverage of Ted Cruz's 'Muslim neighborhoods' remarks

The good, the bad and the funny in media coverage of Ted Cruz's 'Muslim neighborhoods' remarks

Once again, Muslims in America are the focus of intense scrutiny — and they're not exactly happy about it.

Even in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's Brussels terror attacks, we knew this storyline was coming, of course.

In our post yesterday, we stressed:

Key, again, is factual reporting that highlights the various strains of Islam (as we have said a million times, there is "no one Islam") and avoids the simplistic "Islamophobia" propaganda that plagued so much of the coverage last time.

As the world focused its thoughts and prayers on the Belgium victims, the U.S. presidential race took no break at all.

In case you missed it — and I promise this is not from the satirical newspaper The Onion — Republicans Donald Trump and Ted Cruz engaged in a Twitter spat over each other's wives.

But that wasn't the only news the candidates made Tuesday: How to prevent terrorism on U.S. soil again dominated the GOP rhetoric, and Muslims again figured heavily in the discussion.

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Politico paints a nuanced portrait of John Kasich's Christian faith, but not a definitive one

Politico paints a nuanced portrait of John Kasich's Christian faith, but not a definitive one

On a road trip across the Midwest, I'm staying at a hotel overlooking Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians.

Sadly, we're still a few weeks away from baseball's Opening Day, so that King James guy is the only game in town tonight.

Well, him and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who enjoyed his best night of the 2016 presidential race Tuesday, winning his home state.

As I checked in, this was the banner headline on the newspaper lying on the front counter:

Kasich makes good in Buckeye State

On the religion news front — that is what we do at GetReligion, right? — a Politico magazine piece on Kasich's Christian faith has been generating a lot of social media buzz the last 24 hours or so. 

Much of that buzz has been extremely positive.

Given the positive reviews, I was excited to read the Politico piece, particularly after previously critiquing ghost-filled major media reports on Kasich's faith.

 

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Fasting for Ted Cruz: GOP presidential contender's appeal raises spiritual and political questions

Fasting for Ted Cruz: GOP presidential contender's appeal raises spiritual and political questions

With crucial primaries in Ohio and Florida today, the lead front-page story in the Dallas Morning News concerns Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's prospects.

The Morning News reports:

GLEN ELLYN, Ill. — Ted Cruz’s future hinges on contests Tuesday in Ohio and Florida. He’ll almost certainly lose both states.
The key is whether Donald Trump wins. If he knocks out John Kasich and Marco Rubio in their home states, it will set up the two-man contest for the Republican presidential nomination that Cruz has craved for months — but it also might pad Trump’s delegate lead so much that the Texan can’t capitalize.
Polls show Kasich in a close fight and Rubio in deep trouble. Stumping in Tampa on Monday, Trump declared that if he wins Ohio and Florida, “It’s pretty much over.”
Most analysts agree, though Cruz vows to soldier on.
Trump has won a majority of the contests already. He’s collected more than a third of the delegates needed to secure the nomination on a first ballot.
The Cruz camp remains convinced the senator has a shot not just of forcing a floor fight at the Cleveland convention in July, but also of winning enough delegates beforehand to clinch the nomination.

The politics are definitely interesting. But it was a different, smaller Cruz story -- this one on Page 9A of the Dallas newspaper -- that tingled your friendly neighborhood GetReligionista's spidey sense. The headline on that one:

Fast for Cruz, prayer team urges in email

And the subhead:

Candidate ignores query on whether he was forgoing food

OK, obviously this, too, is a political story. I mean, that's the case with any news report about someone running for president, right? I get that. But isn't there a potential -- even a need -- for the Morning News to address the religion angle, as well?

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Concerning 'evangelicals,' dogs, pick-up trucks, Southern 'stuff' and, yes, Donald Trump

Concerning 'evangelicals,' dogs, pick-up trucks, Southern 'stuff' and, yes, Donald Trump

When you grow up as a Southern Baptist in Texas, you hear lots of good preaching and you hear lots and lots of what can only be called "Southern stuff."

Every region has its share of off verbal twists and turns, but I'll put the Deep South at the top of the list when it comes to off-the-wall sayings and wisecracks. There are plenty of blunt Southern grandmothers who are funnier -- intentionally or otherwise -- than some comedians I could name.

So listen now as World magazine scribe Warren Cole Smith -- author of the book "A Lover's Quarrel with the Evangelical Church" -- tries to sum up the whole "Donald Trump is the savior of evangelical voters" debate with one deep-fried expression that I am sure he stole from some older member of his family. This is from an essay called "10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Evangelicals" at OnFaith.

We have an old saying in my part of the South: “Just because my dog sleeps in the garage, that doesn’t make him a pick-up truck.” Just because a blogger calls himself (or herself) an evangelical doesn’t make it so. You don’t have to vote Republican or go to a particular church, but you gotta believe in that stuff in #1 above, or you’re something else.

Ah, but there is the rub. What is the doctrinal content of his #1 reference? And who gets to case a so-called "evangelical" into outer darkness?

We could argue about all that 'til the cows come home (and your GetReligionistas have been spilling digital ink on that topic for 12 years) and not agree on the fine details.

But, journalists, here is the key once again: The term "evangelical" must be defined in some way by belief and behavior (again, read Ed Stetzer and the Rev. Leith Anderson), more than the political issues of the day. (Yes, there are ancient doctrines linked to marriage, abortion, adultery and other issues that often affect political debates.) So where does Smith start?

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For fun, let's try — one more time — to make sense of Donald Trump's evangelical support

For fun, let's try — one more time — to make sense of Donald Trump's evangelical support

Over the weekend, I partied like a journalist.

No, I'm not talking about celebrating the best picture Oscar for "Spotlight," although I thought that was pretty cool.

Rather, I'm referring to the column I wrote comparing the 2016 Republican presidential race to the wrestling shows I watched as a kid. (We newspaper writers do like to amuse ourselves.)

In a more serious take, I tackled this question in a piece for The Christian Chronicle:

In the year of Trump, do values, character matter to Christian voters?

Over at the New York Times, Sunday's newspaper likewise explored the phenomenon of Trump winning the hearts of evangelical voters. Given that I covered the same Oklahoma City rally as the Times, I called dibs on critiquing the piece for GetReligion.

"Go for it," editor Terry Mattingly replied. "You can link to the previous 28 posts. ;-)"

OK, boss, if you insist.

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Knoxville News Sentinel studies evangelicals in Tennessee: Where are the Trump fans?

Knoxville News Sentinel studies evangelicals in Tennessee: Where are the Trump fans?

Greetings from East Tennessee.

If you know anything about the real East Tennessee, other than movie stereotypes about Hill people without shoes, then you probably know that this is a very distinct land that should have been its own state (as in the lost state of Franklin). This is also a region loaded with liberal arts colleges. Did you know that?

Now, at this moment in American politics, there are two other things you need to know about my part of the world.

First of all, this is one of the most intensely Republican regions that there is, anywhere. If you walk out your front door and throw a rock, you'll probably hit a Republican, a Republican's car or a Republican's house.

Second, religion is a very big deal in our neck of the woods and this fact shows up in research all of the time. This is the kind of place where, when your moving truck is still in the driveway of your new house, lots of people are going to show up and ask where you're planning on going to church.

This brings me, of course, to the battle for "evangelical" voters in the current race for the White House. The other day, The Knoxville News-Sentinel ran a piece on this issue with this headline: "Cruz and Rubio battle for evangelical vote in Tennessee."

Now, did you notice a word, a name actually, missing from that headline?

The first time that I glanced at this piece I thought that it was crazy that Citizen Donald Trump's name was not in that headline.

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Move over, 2 Corinthians: Proverbs takes center stage in latest Bible flap of GOP campaign

Move over, 2 Corinthians: Proverbs takes center stage in latest Bible flap of GOP campaign

Proverbs 14:7 says:

Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.

That verse seems appropriate in light of the latest Bible-related scrap by GOP presidential contenders — this one involving Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

In case you missed it, Cruz fired a top aide Monday over — as the Los Angeles Times characterized it — a "charge of dirty tricks":

Already fighting accusations of underhanded campaigning, Cruz asked his communications director, Rick Tyler, to resign after Tyler posted a video on social media and claimed that the senator from Florida could be heard disparaging the Bible. The allegation was false and Tyler apologized.
“This was a grave error of judgment,” the senator from Texas told reporters in Las Vegas. Even if the charge had been true, he said, “we are not a campaign that is going to question the faith of another candidate.”

The Los Angeles newspaper noted that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump — who made headlines when he said "2 Corinthians," not "Second Corinthians" at Liberty University — was quick to weigh in:

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Let's face it: White evangelical voters are totally schizophrenic, and here's why

Let's face it: White evangelical voters are totally schizophrenic, and here's why

Time for a quiz.

Let's assess the state of white evangelical voters, circa 2016.

Such voters are (pick one):

A. "Feeling under siege." 

B. "Going through an identity crisis."

C. "Concerned about Islamic terrorists."

D. Who really knows? Can this election please be over already?

E. All of the above.

As the Republican presidential contest moves down South, major news organizations are attempting — with varying levels of success — to go inside the minds of conservative Christian voters.

In a piece that drew banner attention last week on the Drudge Report, McClatchy's Washington bureau proclaims that Christian conservatives are "pivotal in the South" and "feeling under siege." (Just last week, Muslims were the ones "under siege." Hmmmm ...)

To prove its point, McClatchy takes readers to a laundromat next door to a Piggly Wiggly:

ROBERTA, Ga. — Inside the Sunshine Coin Laundry near the Piggly Wiggly supermarket, Lagretta Ellington removed her family’s clothes from one of the large dryers and began to neatly fold them on a nearby table.
The air was moist and smelled of detergent. The floor was concrete. Her views of the presidential race were anything but. She was unsettled, and distrustful. The candidates just seemed like entertainers.
“I’m going to pray on it,” the 48-year-old Ellington said. “Hopefully, God will lead me in the right direction.”

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