COMMENTARY: Debating the value of the debates

(RNS) Presidential debates are like first visits to possible in-laws. You hope not to belch at supper — and then you return to the world where you are actually exploring marriage and building a life. By Tom Ehrich.

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Poll: White working class voters are still looking for a candidate, and still religious

(RNS) Many common perceptions of the white working class are wrong, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, including the idea that the group is turning its back on religion and is very concerned about candidates' stances on abortion, same-sex marriage and other social issues. By Lauren Markoe.

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COMMENTARY: We can do better

Tom Ehrich |

(RNS) We have seen ourselves up close and decided we can do better. Pouring a lifetime of earnings into showy living becomes embarrassing. Turning religion into shouting matches and rampant bigotry doesn't pass any gospel sniff test. By Tom Ehrich.

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Mormons, GOP didn’t always get along so well

Thomas Burr / The Salt Lake Tribune |

WASHINGTON (RNS) As Mitt Romney presses his White House bid, many Americans don't realize that his Mormon faith played an important role as foil in the early days of the GOP, and how its first candidates won by whipping up anti-Mormon sentiments. By Thomas Burr.

Mainline Protestants up for grabs heading into November

Lauren Markoe |

WASHINGTON (RNS) In a matchup between Obama and GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, mainline Protestant voters are nearly evenly divided, with 41 percent supporting Obama and 43 percent for Romney. The same holds true between Obama and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — each is the choice of 41 percent of white mainline Protestants. By Lauren Markoe.

Why Mitt Romney can’t be the Mormon JFK

By talking about his Mormonism, Mitt Romney would call attention to his Mormonism. Politically speaking, that's a huge risk. Many Americans, and Republicans in particular, tend to consider Mormonism a “cult” — or “super spooky-wooky!” as Broadway's hit musical, The Book of Mormon, puts it.