COMMENTARY: All politics (should be) local

NEW YORK (RNS) The better a restaurant owner knows the customers, the more focused the menu can be. It's the same with politics; when it's local, candidates tend to know their people or at least know their interests, lingo, worries and hopes. This is the level at which democracy tends to work best. By Tom Ehrich.

COMMENTARY: Of Protestants, politicians and power

(RNS) It would be an error to underestimate or write off the Protestant influence in the American political arena. But with the rapid demographic and sociological changes now underway, get ready for Hindus, Jews, Hispanics, Buddhists, Muslims, gays, women, atheists and many other groups to head up future presidential tickets. By A. James Rudin.

COMMENTARY: The one bright light in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. (RNS) Two forces of nature were bearing down on Tampa this week. One, Tropical Storm Isaac, was thought likely to reach Tampa on Monday as a hurricane. The other, the Republican National Convention, was bringing 50,000 Republicans to nominate a president and vice president, to adopt a campaign platform, and to make the usual quadrennial noise. By Tom Ehrich.

The roots of Rep. Todd Akin’s rape remarks

Tim Townsend and Blythe Bernhard / The St. Louis Post-Dispatch |

ST. LOUIS (RNS) Two pages from a 1972 article have influenced two generations of anti-abortion activists hoping to build a medical case to ban all abortions without exception. By Tim Townsend and Blythe Bernhard.

Why Ayn Rand is Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher and a problem for some Christians

Daniel Burke |

“You've got a guy who is a rising Republican star, and who wrote the budget, saying he's read her books and Washington needs more of her values,” said Eric Sapp, executive director of the American Values Network, which is trying to tie Paul Ryan to atheist philosopher Ayn Rand. “If you're a Christian, you've got to ask some serious questions about what's going on here.”