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Is the Republican Convention More Secular Than the Democratic One Was?

Plus: Preacher Stephen Olford dies at 86, and many other stories from online sources around the world.

Too much religion speak at the convention? Too little?
The basic storyline in many media outlets goes like this: The keynote speakers at the Republican National Convention aren't nearly so conservative as the delegates or the party "base" of religious conservatives (or, for that matter, the candidate). Most religious conservative leaders are fine with that, saying that putting them up on the podium would draw few swing voters.

"The Republican Party is already cast as being captive of the Religious Right, so why aggravate it?" explains the National Association of Evangelicals' Rich Cizik in today's Washington Times.

But some delegates and others are frustrated. "I think they're making a mistake," Pastoral Congressional Prayer Conference head Rod McDougal told The Boston Globe. "We didn't realize they were going to eliminate and censor everything about God. … They need some people of faith up there."

"Since Republicans actually love God-talk, it stood to reason that their convention would be a veritable revival meeting," says Beliefnet editor Steven Waldman. "Instead, it's been more like an ACLU retreat, at least in terms of the use of religious rhetoric from the top speakers. None of the marquee acts on the first two nights so much as threw in a Bible passage. Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were downright Pentecostal compared to John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger."

Still, away from the marquee acts, there's been plenty of God talk. Check out, for example, Sen. Elizabeth Dole's remarks, which didn't make prime time:

Two-thousand years ago a man said, "I have come to give life and to give it in full." In America I have the freedom to call that man Lord, and I do. In the United States of America we are free to worship ...
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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
Previous Weblog Columns:
July/August
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