White Evangelical Protestants Would Back Romney in General Election: News Roundup

In the news this week:  the difference between being a Mormon candidate in the primaries versus general election, what it means to be a black atheist, atheists are equated to rapists in a recent study, and other stories.

About half of all voters, and 60% of evangelical Republicans, know that Mitt Romney is a Mormon. The former Massachusetts governor’s religion has implications for his nomination run but not for the general election, should he be nominated as his party’s standard bearer.
 
White evangelical Protestants – a key element of the GOP electoral base – are more inclined than the public as a whole to view Mormonism as a non-Christian faith. And this view is linked to opinions about Romney: Republicans who say Mormonism is not a Christian religion are less likely to support Romney for the GOP nomination and offer a less favorable assessment of him generally. But they seem prepared to overwhelmingly back him in a run against Obama in the general election.   PEW Forum
 
Jamila Bey, a 35-year-old journalist, said, “To be black and atheist, in a lot of circles, is to not be black.” She said the story the nation tells of African-Americans’ struggle for civil rights is a Christian one, so African-Americans who reject religion are seen as turning their backs on their history. This feels unfair to Ms. Bey, whose mother is Roman Catholic and whose father is Muslim, because people of different faiths, and some with none, were in the movement. The black church dominated, she said, because it was the one independent black institution allowed under Jim Crow laws, providing free spaces to African-Americans who otherwise faced arrest for congregating in public.
 
Recognizing the role of churches in the movement, Ms. Bey still takes issue when their work is retold as God’s. “These people were using the church, pulling from its resources, to attack a problem and literally change history. But the story that gets told is, ‘Jesus delivered us,’ ” Ms. Bey said. “Frankly, it was humans who did all the work.” NY Times
 
Distrust is the central motivating factor behind why religious people dislike atheists, according to a new study led by University of British Columbia psychologists.
 
"Where there are religious majorities — that is, in most of the world — atheists are among the least trusted people," says lead author Will Gervais, a doctoral student in UBC's Dept. of Psychology. "With more than half a billion atheists worldwide, this prejudice has the potential to affect a substantial number of people." Alternet
 
The Air Force Academy dedicated an $80,000 outdoor worship center — a small Stonehenge-like circle of boulders with propane fire pit — high on a hill for the handful of current or future cadets whose religions fall under the broad category of "Earth-based." Those include pagans, Wiccans, druids, witches and followers of Native American faiths. LA Times
 
The Catholic clergy has aggressively lobbied against the Obama administration's proposed rules for contraception coverage for the past few months, arguing that a mandate that would require health plans to cover birth control at no cost to women would force Catholic hospitals and universities to abandon their religious beliefs. But many of these health care providers already cover birth control and even abortion services for their employees — a reality that undermines the clergy's alarmist approach. Huffington Post
 
Charitable giving is trickling back up as the economy heals, but it could take years to return to pre-recession levels, nonprofit leaders say. Huffington Post