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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: religion

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March 1, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Will the "Mormon vote" swing Washington's GOP caucuses to Mitt Romney?

A billboard from the I'm a Mormon campaign.

A billboard from the I'm a Mormon campaign, aimed to fight stereotypes about Mormons, hangs over South Seattle (Photo by Alex Stonehill/UW Election Eye)

If you’ve seen those I’m a Mormon billboards around Seattle and have been following the presidential campaign, you might have concluded that there’s a coordinated effort to bring the Mormon faith (known officially as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) further into the public sphere.

Mitt Romney is certainly closer to being president than any Mormon ever has been before. In advance of the Republican caucuses this Saturday, he is in town today for a fundraising dinner in Medina and tomorrow plans a “meet and greet” in Bellevue – where Marion G. Romney, a cousin of Mitt’s father, oversaw the groundbreaking and dedication of the large LDS temple in 1978.

The Romneys go back, way back, in Mormon history. But that doesn’t mean the LDS church is pushing him as a candidate.

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Comments | Topics: church, delegates, Latter Day Saints

February 7, 2012 at 5:24 AM

With a "purple" faith, evangelical Christians in Colorado defy easy stereotypes

COLORADO SPRINGS — It’s not just the electoral votes that are purple — that is, a mix of conservative and liberal — in this independence-loving mountain state. It’s the religiously minded voters, too, who seem to operate at a shade more subtle than in other places.

With some of its largest churches unaffiliated with distinct denominations, the Christian community here is theologically diverse, composed of a range of hard-to-summarize beliefs. This spectrum includes the fiscally conservative with the socially liberal, or, just as easily, the other way around.

Ted Haggard's congregation meets for service in Colorado Springs on Sunday morning, Feb. 5, 2012. The non-denominational church reflects the independent ethos of the state (Photo by Jason Gilmore / UW Election Eye)

“The rest of the world scoffs at us when we place our belief in a particular political [party] instead of Christ,” said Matt Heard, the head pastor at Woodmen Valley Chapel, one of the more influential “megachurches” in Colorado Springs, at Sunday’s evening service.

Christians ought to operate with a more heavenly focus, he said.

The state’s Republican voters attend caucuses this evening to cast ballots for the party’s presidential nomination.

A former evangelical fortress?

The state’s reputation as a center for modern-day American evangelicalism, based in Colorado Springs, is over-rated, said pastor Doug Olsen, also of Woodmen. It remains the national headquarters for Focus on the Family, Navigators and other evangelical groups, but the city’s religious leanings are more complicated.

“We’re an ordinary city with human people that happens to have Christians living in it,” Olsen said, adding that his church works with the local government on outreach efforts to the large military community in the area, as well as to its homeless population.

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Comments | Topics: Caucuses, Colorado, Colorado caucus

January 15, 2012 at 4:00 AM

We wanted to go to Chick-fil-A, but it’s Sunday

Photo from Flickr user hectorir

I’m the Southerner on this trip. I was born and raised outside of Houston and attended The University of Texas at Austin as an undergraduate. Over time, my “Hook’em Horns” has morphed into “Hook’em Huskies” as I’ve come to love Seattle, but once a Texan, always a Texan.

For our coverage of the South Carolina Republican Party primary, I am all in as a Southerner. First and foremost that means food.

Food is the portal to everything in the South. Let’s consider a Southern institution, Chick-fil-A.

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Comments | Topics: food, Food, religion