In The News: #LoveWins, #TakeItDown, #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches

A round-up of the week’s religion news. Continue Reading →

As Goes Iowa: Asking Presidential Candidates the Right Religion Questions

by Andy Kopsa

Every four years the national political eye shifts to Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses.  With the 2012 presidential election only 15 months away, the campaign frenzy in Iowa has already begun.  Local and national media are eagerly following Republican presidential hopefuls as they glad-hand farmers, eat local delicacies and stump, flanked by American flags, through soybean fields.

In February next year, Iowans will head to their local caucus to give a traditionally coveted victory to one Republican who could go on to face President Obama in the general election. That Republican – be it Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich – will need to secure the blessing of the radical religious-political group The Family Leader.

Bob Vander Plaats, the outspoken head of The Family Leader (TFL), is the man The Atlantic has called a Republican political “kingmaker” in Iowa – and the man who The Hill just ranked as having the ability to give one of the top 10 “endorsements the presidential candidates covet most.”

The media has documented his – and the TFL’s – statements about homosexuality (worse than second hand smoke) and women’s role in society (producing lots of babies). Last week TFL made national news again with its Marriage Pledge – already signed by Bachmann and Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania – touting the benefits of slavery to African American families (after vocal push-back, TFL has since removed this from the pledge).  None of Vander Plaats’ work would be half as interesting a story if The Family Leader, a Focus on the Family affiliate, hadn’t been built with over $3 million in federal funds. Continue Reading →