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WASHINGTON (RNS) Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum, leading the GOP field in national polls, is defending his views questioning prenatal testing and President Obama’s “theology.” The unapologetic advocacy by Santorum seemed sure to please social conservatives in the Republican Party but also fuel questions about whether he could appeal to independent voters in a general […] Read More

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) After months of urging from other Baptists around the country, the Rev. Fred Luter told his African-American congregation that he will seek to become the first black man to lead the predominantly white Southern Baptist Convention. Several Baptist leaders said Luter becomes the prohibitive favorite for the post, to be filled in […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) They may not be as large as Catholics or as active as evangelicals, but white mainline Protestants have a big thing going for them this election cycle: they are divided, and possibly persuadable. That’s according to a new poll released Thursday (Feb. 2) that found white mainline Protestants are more evenly split between […] Read More

(RNS) On June 27, 1844, vigilantes cornered a man who claimed to receive messages from God and gunned him down in an Illinois jail after his arrest. At the time of his death, Joseph Smith Jr., founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was an announced candidate for president of the United […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) Americans consider President Obama to be the smartest and most honest presidential candidate against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, according to a new poll, but religious groups differ on their views of the candidates’ attributes. The Barna Group polled 1,010 adults on their perceptions of the candidates’ honesty, […] Read More

(RNS) From media mavens to grassroots activists, conservative Christian leaders are heaping praise on presidential candidate Rick Perry, an early but important show of support from a vital GOP constituency. Initially unimpressed with the 2012 presidential field, some of these evangelicals now herald Perry’s late entry as the second coming of Ronald Reagan. Like Reagan, […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is the top Republican pick of evangelical leaders, according to an informal survey, with 45 percent saying he would be their choice for GOP nominee in the 2012 election. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, which conducted the survey, said the results weren’t surprising since […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) Roughly two out of three Americans say it makes no difference to them if a presidential candidate is Mormon, according to a new Pew Research Center poll, although evangelicals are more cautious. The poll found that 68 percent of respondents said a candidate’s Mormon faith would not matter, while one in four said […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI replied in a diplomatic and general terms to a provocative letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, pledging to find common efforts for “peace and reconciliation” with the Islamic republic. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican official in charge of inter-religious dialogue with Muslims, hand-delivered the pope’s Nov. 3 letter to […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) Rep. Mike Pence, a fast-rising conservative firebrand from Indiana, was the surprise winner of a straw poll on Saturday (Sept. 18) among 17 possible Republican presidential candidates at the 2010 Values Voter Summit. Pence beat out better known conservative leaders, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, to win with 24 percent in a […] Read More