Marco Rubio

Why folks are freaking out over article on Marco Rubio tweeting 'Most Republican Part of the Bible'

Why folks are freaking out over article on Marco Rubio tweeting 'Most Republican Part of the Bible'

To the casual observer, it looks like news.

Politico certainly does nothing to present it as something else — say, a single liberal theologian's opinion.

I'm talking about the article published over the weekend with this clickbait of a headline:

Marco Rubio Is Tweeting the Most Republican Part of the Bible

The piece has a byline and reads — to some extent — like straightforward, fact-based journalism:

Marco Rubio had a message for his nearly 3 million Twitter followers on the morning of June 26: “As dogs return to their vomit, so fools repeat their folly. Proverbs 26:11.”
That one might have been his most head-snapping, but Rubio, the Republican senator from Florida, had been tweeting verses like that one since May 16. He has tweeted a biblical verse almost every day since then. Almost all of them come from the Old Testament, and specifically the book of Proverbs.
Proverbs is notable in that is presents a fairly consistent view of the world: The righteous are rewarded, and the wicked are punished. In the understanding of Proverbs, everyone gets what is coming to them; behavior is directly linked to reward or punishment. This worldview has social consequences: Those who succeed in life must be more righteous than those who struggle.

Some, including The Hill, interpreted it as a news story, reporting on Rubio's response:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Sunday pushed back at a news article that claimed the conservative lawmaker was tweeting "the most Republican part of the Bible."
"Proverbs is the Republican part of the bible? I don't think Solomon had yet joined the GOP when he wrote the first 29 chapters of Proverbs," Rubio said tongue-in-check, while retweeting Politico Magazine's story on the matter.

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., a former Southern Baptist youth pastor, also weighed in via Twitter:

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A Monday-morning quarterback re-examines a foggy religion news forecast for 2016

A Monday-morning quarterback re-examines a foggy religion news forecast for 2016

This Memo must begin with a confession.

The Religion Guy was among countless newsies who thought Donald Trump would lose. He figured it was close, Trump would win Ohio and Iowa, and had a good shot in Florida and North Carolina. But it didn’t seem likely (to say the least) the president-elect could grab Wisconsin, Michigan (where The Guy went to college), Pennsylvania (where his in-laws live) and fall only 1.5 percent short in Minnesota (that super-blue land of Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale). 

Reminders of fallibility are necessary as The Guy turns Monday-morning quarterback and re-examines the forecast for 2016 by the team of pros at www.religionlink.com, an essential resource on the beat sponsored by our Religion Newswriters Foundation. (Tax-deductible donations welcomed.) Its Web postings are especially helpful in listing knowledgeable observers and advocates for reporters.

Naturally, ReligionLink led with the election. On the January day its 2016 forecast appeared, the RealClearPolitics poll average among Republicans put Trump first with 35 percent, followed by three rivals with substantial evangelical appeal who together claimed 38.3 percent: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Dr. Ben Carson, in that order. Uh, that was essentially “white evangelical” appeal, due to African-Americans’ Democratic fealty.

ReligionLink cited Rubio’s pitch to evangelicals but ignored the devout Cruz and Carson.

Remarkably, Trump’s candidacy was not mentioned.

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One more time: What explains enthusiasm among many evangelicals for Trump?

 One more time: What explains enthusiasm among many evangelicals for Trump?

On Super Tuesday, Donald Trump easily swept the four states with the heaviest majorities of Protestants who consider themselves “evangelicals” -- Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia.  

So the campaign’s major religious puzzle -- likely to be pondered come 2020 and 2024 -- continues to be how to explain Trump’s appeal to Bible Belters.

Yes, Trump brags that he’s either a “strong Christian,” “good Christian” or “great Christian.” Many GOP voters don’t buy it. And they don’t care. Pew Research Center polling in January showed only 44 percent of Republicans and Republican “leaners” see Trump as either “very” or “somewhat” religious, while 24 percent said “not too” religious and 23 percent “not at all.”

That’s far below the “very” or “somewhat religious” image of Marco Rubio (at 70 percent) who’d be the party’s first Catholic nominee, Baptist Ted Cruz (76 percent) and Seventh-day Adventist Dr. Ben Carson (80 percent). Anglican John Kasich was not listed.

An anti-Trump evangelical who worked in the Bush 43 White House, Peter Wehner, posed the question in a harsh New York Times piece: “Mr. Trump’s character is antithetical to many of the qualities evangelicals should prize in a political leader.” Their backing for “a moral degenerate” is “inexplicable” and will do “incalculable damage to their witness.” Many such words are being tossed about in religious, journalistic, and political circles.

Observers who hate Christians, or evangelicals, or social conservatives, or political conservatives, or Republicans, have a ready answer: The GOP and especially its religious ranks are chock full of creeps, fools, and racists.

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GOP establishment in a panic! Guess what kind of leaders the Gray Lady ignores?

GOP establishment in a panic! Guess what kind of leaders the Gray Lady ignores?

In case you have not noticed, there is a little bit of panic right now spreading among Republican Party leaders. It's in all the newspapers.

If you push the panic to its logical conclusion, one needs to ask how many security professionals will be needed at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, just to handle the task of tossing out the party faithful who will be hating on the nominee.

So, precisely WHO is in a #NeverTrump panic?

The most common answer is the "Republican Establishment." This is usually defined as the people who are calling the shots in the party. And who is that? For Trump, that term points toward the big-shot donors, Republicans in Congress, the old-guard Republican experts who are constantly interviewed on television, etc., etc.

The New York Times produced a major piece the other day -- "Inside the Republican Party’s Desperate Mission to Stop Donald Trump" -- about this panic attack and, as you would expect, it was packed with familiar names from the GOP establishment Rolodex. But as I read it, I kept thinking: What is the connection between the party's ESTABLISHMENT and its BASE, the people it can count on to turn out on election day?

To be specific, are there leaders of the GOP BASE who are not considered to be honored members of its ESTABLISHMENT? If so, why is that the case? Might that disconnect have something to do with the Trump insurgency? Hold that thought.

This is long, but you need to read the whole overture (Spot the names!) to get into the mood of the story:

The scenario Karl Rove outlined was bleak.

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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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That whole Islamophobia thing again: Lots of stereotypes, little actual journalism

That whole Islamophobia thing again: Lots of stereotypes, little actual journalism

Certainly, the plight of Muslims in America is a relevant subject for quality journalism in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.

But where is the quality?

When major newspapers decide to delve into that subject matter, I wish they'd do some actual reporting. Real reporting.

Instead, too many stories follow a predictable paint-by-numbers approach that results in painfully pathetic journalism. The latest example comes courtesy of the largest newspaper in Minnesota, a state I happen to be visiting this week.

In a story headlined "Non-Muslim Minnesotans are donning the hijab to show support," the Minneapolis Star-Tribune muddles through a hodgepodge of sources connected by random facts.

The lede:

Nade Conrad's long black hair disappeared under the cover of a lilac hijab.
"I feel different," she said.
Conrad, who is not Muslim, had donned the scarf to show support for a Muslim friend at Normandale Community College in Bloomington.
Such acts of "hijab solidarity" are on the rise.
World Hijab Day, a global event inviting people of all faiths to post pictures of themselves in a hijab on social media, is gathering steam. It was at a World Hijab Day event at Normandale — one of several such events held at Minnesota colleges in early February — that Conrad first tried on a hijab.

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