Religion on the Campaign Trail Again: News Roundup

In the news this week: nominee hopefuls speak about attacks on Christianity and also promote their faith in South Carolina, new (religiously diverse) members of Obama’s administration, atheists coordinate to support charity, and other stories

Taking a brief pause from attacking each other, the Republican presidential candidates took a moment in a Saturday night debate to attack the media and President Obama for what they called anti-Christian bigotry. CBS
 
Greenville, South Carolina (CNN) – Despite lingering suspicions about his Mormon religion among some evangelicals here, Mitt Romney is embracing his faith in a new mail piece that began hitting South Carolina households on Saturday.
 
The glossy fold-out brochure, provided to CNN from a voter who received it, seeks to turn Romney's deeply-held religious convictions and his 42-year marriage into assets in a state where roughly six in ten Republicans call themselves "born again" or evangelical Christians.
 
"Meet Mitt … Faith. Family. Country," the front of the mailer reads.
 
The flip side features a quote from the former Massachusetts governor: "If I'm President of the United States, I will be true to my family, my faith, and our country, and I will never apologize for the United States of America." CNN
 
Greenville, South Carolina (CNN) – As he launched a last-ditch effort to rescue his flagging candidacy in South Carolina, Rick Perry made clear Sunday that he will make an aggressive play for Christian voters. CNN
 
President Obama on Tuesday named an immigration expert with longstanding ties to the Catholic Church as his top domestic policy official, continuing a campaign-year makeover of White House staff.
 
The hiring of Cecilia Munoz, along with the appointment on Monday of Jacob Lew, an Orthodox Jew, as White House chief of staff, may improve Obama's sometimes tense relations with two key religious groups: Catholics and Jews. USA Today
 
If it had been an average day for Doctors Without Borders, the Swiss charity that sends medical help into crisis areas, its website would have logged 4,000 hits.
 
Instead, on Dec. 10, it was bombarded with more than 10 times that number. Atheists from the user-driven news site Reddit.com participated in a fundraiser that has so far raised more than $200,000. Charlotte Observer
 
What do young superstars Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, and Tim Tebow have in common?
 
They believe in God, and they don't mind sharing. FOX
 
An amendment that would ban Oklahoma courts from considering international or Islamic law discriminates against religions and a Muslim community leader has the right to challenge its constitutionality, a federal appeals court said Tuesday.
 
The court in Denver upheld U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange's order blocking implementation of the amendment shortly after it was approved by 70 percent of Oklahoma voters in November 2010. CBS