For the next two weeks, the political and media worlds will be turned upside down as the Republicans and the Democrats meet for their 2012 presidential delegations. In anticipation of the Republican National Convention (RNC), which is kicking off today, CNN published a list of ways in which faith and religion will matter during the event.
Considering the prevalence of faith among Republican adherents, it's no surprise that religion will play a prime role at the RNC. From CNN's analysis, The-Blaze has selected five of the ways in which faith will likely color the convention this week. Here they are (with our original analysis):
1) Todd Akin & “Legitimate Rape”: On the surface, the Todd Akin controversy (you know, the Missouri Senate candidate who recently said that women are able to prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape”) has some loose – if any – faith connections. But, alas, the drama surrounding Akin’s statement has reverberated throughout the walls of nearly every newsroom in America, with some evangelical leaders, rather than shying away from the controversy, actually coming to the politician’s defense (Mike Huckabee, among others, has jumped in to help Akin out).
CNN contends that this is creating some controversy within the GOP, with some social conservatives taking issue with some within the Republican tent who have turned their backs on Akin. How this will play out at the convention remains to be seen.
2) Mormonism: There’s no doubt that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s faith will be a factor at the RNC. As the first LDS adherent selected to be a major party candidate, Romney and his religious beliefs will likely, at least based on what we've seen so far, be intensely scrutinized.
While TheBlaze has determined, through extensive analysis, that the candidate’s faith won’t substantially hamper him come November, there has been some unfortunate examples of Democrats, a small subset of evangelicals and media figures using Mormonism against him. CNN ponders whether Romney and RNC speakers will tackle his faith head-on or continue to let it lay in the background of the political schema.
3) War on Women: Since the controversial contraceptive mandate was announced and furor followed, the Democratic Party has attempted to frame Republicans as “anti-women.” In fact, the rhetoric has gone so far as to claim that GOP politicians and their enthusiasts are waging a “war on women.”
Republicans, though, argued that the issue wasn’t about preventing women from receiving health care services. Instead, they said that the mandate was about religious liberty and conscience protections. At the convention, this issue will certainly be on the table, as the party will attempt to court women, while distinguishing the religious protectionism it embraces from an attempt to attack female health options.
4) War on Religion (Culture War): While CNN claims that there’s some worry over how Rick Santorum, among others, will handle his RNC address, the GOP – or at least the more theologically conservative branch -- hasn’t been shy about claiming that there is an overt war on religion.
Considering the Obama administration’s handling of faith and religion, it will be fascinating to see how this issue is handled throughout the RNC. Will speakers address it head-on and in a fiery way -- or will speakers avoid overtones and rely on more stragically-embedded messaging?
5) Israel: There's certainly partisan disagreement over Israel and how the U.S. government should be managing the nation's relationship with the Jewish homeland. While President Obama has reiterated that he's been a strong advocate of Israel, Romney has targeted him on this front and Republicans have widely criticized his handling of the Middle East (Obama has also been inconsistent in whether he believes that Jerusalem truly is Israel's capitol).
You can read the rest of the elements that were compiled by CNN here.