Squeezing every drop of religion from the FleetCenter
Yesterday, Weblog mentioned Beliefnet's convention blog as a fine place to monitor religion news coming out of the Democratic National Convention in Boston. And it is. But if you like that, you'll love Amy Sullivan's blogging over at Washington Monthly. Sullivan is the Democratic pundit who has spent much of the last few years urging her party to understand that religion is a big deal to many Americans—including those swing voters. One of her best features this week is explicating the religious phrases from the podium: For example, in yesterday's widely praised speech by Barack Obama, she notes the use of the phrases "We worship an awesome God," "I am my brother's keeper," and "Belief in things not seen." Then she notes a phrase that's not really religious, but should be:

Obama went off text near the end to riff on the Democrats' momentum, referring to "a wind at our backs" and then upping that to "a righteous wind at our backs." It's not biblical [though it is probably a reference to a religious Gaelic benediction—Weblog], but it sounds cool, so I'll give him points for sounding spiritual and whipping people up without Bible-thumping. And that, really, is my point in highlighting all of these references from various speakers. Professions of personal piety often ring false with voters and are inappropriate unless the candidate intends to tell us how that relates to their ability to serve as public officials. Using powerful religious rhetoric to establish connections between secular political concerns and faith-based beliefs and priorities, however, is simply an effective strategy that helps Democrats more than it hurts them.

Still, notes Sullivan, looking for religion ...

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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 editorial director. 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.
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