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.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s GOP convention blessing prompts debate

(RNS) The news that New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the nation’s most prominent Catholic prelate, will deliver the closing blessing to the Republican National Convention in Florida next week was seen as a huge coup for Mitt Romney, the presumptive nominee. But the move has promoted a sharp debate within the church over the increasingly close ties between leading bishops and the GOP. By David Gibson.

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.”