It's no secret that GOP leading candidate Mitt Romney is Mormon, and reporters appear so enamored with his faith that they forget to cover the other candidates' religious affiliations. In GetReligion's latest podcast I spoke with Todd Wilken about the candidates' faith and why were aren't seeing much mention of it. In an earlier post about how none of the leaders in the GOP field are mainline Protestants many of you jumped in the comments to talk about mainline Protestantism and the faith of the GOP candidates.
Some of you were concerned that I didn't get to other candidates like Gary Johnson, Herman Cain and Ron Paul. It's hard to column everyone, but from what I have read, Gary Johnson is Lutheran (though I'm unclear which church he attends), Herman Cain attends Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta, and Ron Paul has described himself as an evangelical.
Rick Perry, who some say might enter the race, is a United Methodist member who attends a church with Southern Baptist connections. If you have more links for those or other candidates about their faith, please share them.
All of this started with Doyle McManus' column in the Los Angeles Times that noted the candidates' religious affiliations and voter behavior.
There's still a "God gap" in American politics between the religiously observant (who tend to vote Republican) and the less observant (who tend to vote Democratic), but it now crosses denominational lines. "If I know whether you say grace before meals every day, I can probably predict how you vote," said Notre Dame political scientist David E. Campbell. (About 44% of Americans say grace, and most of them vote Republican.)
That also helps explain why so many Republican candidates come from conservative religious backgrounds — whether Mormon, Catholic or evangelical — instead of the more liberal traditional GOP denominations, which now stand outside the party's conservative mainstream.
As I note in the podcast, someone in the Presbyterian Church of American may find himself more in line with a Mormon politically than he does with someone in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
In the podcast, we also talked about the story of a mother and child with cerebral palsy who were removed from a worship service "for being a distraction." The story left out many details, like what kind of church it was, whether the TV station contacted the head pastor, and whether the woman was attending another church before. These kinds of stories highlight the struggles many church might face, but we need more info to fill in the blanks.
Hopefully we'll see more religion and politics coverage in the coming months as candidates commit to the race and more stories on how churches handle people with disabilities.