Obama and Romney Use Religion in Commencement Speeches: News Roundup

In the news: Romney and Obama touch on religion in commencement addresses, a Catholic College drops health coverage for students, Colorado’s Day of Prayer is ruled unconstitutional, and other stories. 

The motivation behind Mitt Romney and Barack Obama's dueling commencement addresses over the weekend and on Monday could not have been more clear. Romney sought to buttress his standing with religious conservatives, and took the stage at Liberty University, a private Christian school. Obama focused on the achievements and challenges facing women, and thus chose to speak at Barnard College, an all-female school. ABC
 
The Franciscan University of Steubenville, a small Catholic college in Ohio, announced Tuesday that it will drop coverage for students entirely rather than "violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of human life," Reuters reported. The change will affect 200 out of the school's 2,500 students, although with its overwhelmingly Catholic student body—the university has been called "The Most Catholic University in the World"—the Franciscan University would likely fall into the category of exempt employers. Yahoo
 
Hani Sarhan is a Christian who says none of his relatives works with Bashar Assad's regime or has anything to do with it.
 
"But what we heard from (the protesters) at the beginning of this revolution saying,'Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the coffin,' started us thinking about the real aim of this revolution," he said. "So from this point of view, fearing for my life, I declared my support for President Assad."
 
Muslims dominate this nation of 22 million people, but Christians can be found at all levels of Syrian government, business and military. Huffington Post
 
A Colorado court has ruled the state’s proclamation for a Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.
 
The state appeals court made the ruling Thursday on the proclamations by former Govs. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, and Bill Owens, a Republican, saying they violate the Constitution's provisions for religious liberty.
 
The three-judge panel ruled unanimously that such a state-sponsored proclamation sends a message that those who pray are favored members of Colorado's political community, according to the Denver Post. Fox News
 
A group of high-profile Republican strategists is working with a conservative billionaire on a proposal to mount one of the most provocative campaigns of the “super PAC” era and attack President Obama in ways that Republicans have so far shied away from.
 
Timed to upend the Democratic National Convention in September, the plan would “do exactly what John McCain would not let us do,” the strategists wrote.
 
The plan, which is awaiting approval, calls for running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons made him a highly charged figure in the 2008 campaign. NY Times