Newsreel 01/14

In the news this week…

  • NPR published a story of two Mormon missionaries in New Hampshire and reported that the two young men were repeatedly asked one question, “Huntsman or Romney?” Which I found strange, because I was under the impression that most encounters with Mormon missionaries went like this. All shameless Broadway references aside, whether Huntsman and Romney’s participation in the Republican primary will bring understanding and positive attention to the historically ridiculed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints remains to be seen. Perhaps, as the musical The Book of Mormon claims, “tomorrow is a doper, phatter latter day” for religious tolerance, at least.
  • In a federal appeals court this past Tuesday, an Oklahoma measure banning the consideration of Sharia law in state judge’s decisions has been blocked. Muneer Awad, the leader of the Council of American-Islamic Relations who brought the suit said, “This is an important reminder that the Constitution is the last line of defense against a rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry in our society, and we are pleased that the appeals court recognized that fact.” Read the full story here.
  • This week, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life published a massive report entitled Mormons In America which included numerous polls of Mormons about theology, values, and their thoughts on the perception of their religion by non-Mormons. One result that may help clarify some of the misconceptions is this: only 2% of Mormons polled said that polygamy was morally acceptable. Keep in mind that a recent poll found that 2% of Americans think that Mitt Romney’s real first name is “Mittens.” Another 2% think his real name is “Gromit.” Should we really judge all Americans for the shortcomings of this unrepresentative minority? If not, then let’s drop the whole polygamy thing.
  • The New York Times reported that Evangelical leaders in the U.S. still seem hesitant to support current Republican primary front-runner Mitt Romney and instead hope that the upcoming primary results will provide a viable alternative to rally around. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry are each courting this constituency by attempting to out-Christian each other.
  • Stephen Colbert has purchased airtime for a campaign ad to be run in South Carolina supporting his bid for the presidency. In response I must say that I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m an atheist, but you don’t have to watch the Colbert Report every night to know that there’s something wrong in our country when a comedian can openly be the most qualified candidate for president, IMHO (and that of Jesus Christ). Read the humorous coverage here.

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