October 28th, 2008
05:04 PM ET

Before you vote, consider your "Faith Priorities"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/28/art.wallis.jpg caption="Evangelical leader Jim Wallis"]
Evangelical leader Jim Wallis, author of The Great Awakening and President of Sojourners, the largest network of progressive Christians in the United States, today outlined the "faith priorities" that will dictate his vote in the 2008 presidential election. This is in direct response to the list of "non-negotiables" issued in previous elections by conservative Catholic Bishops and megachurch pastors like Rick Warren. These non-negotiables were intended as a voter guide for their followers yet read like the official Republican Party Web sites focusing on wedge issues like abortion and gay marriage. The political connections and commitments of the religious non-negotiable writers were quite clear and failed to address biblical imperatives like poverty.

"Our choices should reflect the things we believe God cares about if we are people of faith, and our moral sensibilities if we are not people of faith," said Jim Wallis. "All of us should be 'values voters,' but vote all our values, not just a few that can be easily manipulated for the benefit of one party or another."

Jim Wallis' Faith Priorities:

  1. With more than two-thousand verses in the Bible about how we treat the poor, I will examine the record, plans, and promises made by candidates on what they will do to overcome the scandal of extreme global poverty and the shame of domestic poverty in the richest nation in the world. Any solution to the economic crisis that simply bails out the rich, and even the middle class, but ignores those at the bottom should be unacceptable to people of faith.
  2. From the biblical prophets to Jesus, there is, at least, a biblical presumption against war. So I will choose candidates who will be least likely to lead us into disastrous wars and find better ways to resolve the inevitable conflicts in the world. I will choose candidates who seem to best understand that our security depends upon other people's security (everyone having "their own vine and fig tree, so no one can make them afraid," as the prophets say), more than upon how high we can build walls or a stockpile of weapons.
  3. "Choosing life” is a constant biblical theme, so I will choose candidates who have the most consistent ethic of life, addressing all the threats to human life and dignity that we face. Thirty-thousand children dying globally each day of preventable hunger and disease is a life issue. The genocide in Darfur is a life issue. War is a life issue. The death penalty is a life issue. And on abortion, I will choose candidates who will pursue practical and proven policies which could dramatically reduce the number of abortions in America, rather than those who simply repeat the polarized legal debates and "pro-choice” and "pro-life" mantras from either side.

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Filed under: Raw Politics • Religion
October 28th, 2008
04:54 PM ET

Misunderstanding Sarah

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Christianity Today Editorial

Media reaction to Gov. Palin shows ignorance of evangelicalism.

The Vice Presidential nomination of Sarah Palin stunned the American public, especially the mainstream media. For weeks, the focus of Palin puzzlement shifted daily, from her support for aerial wolf hunting to her claiming per diem payments for nights spent at home to Tina Fey's jaw-dropping Palin impersonation.

But two sex- and gender-related questions caught our attention. First, reactions to news of Bristol Palin's out-of-wedlock pregnancy: liberal pundits gleefully announced that this was going to seriously undermine Governor Palin's standing with the Republican Party's evangelical base. Any informed evangelical watcher or evangelical believer could have told them that this is a non-issue.

It is a non-issue because John Newton's famous line, "I once was lost but now I'm found," defines the evangelical ethos. We specialize in troubled lives. Stories of transformation from sin and degradation to righteousness and wholeness frame the way evangelicals see life. From the slave-trading Newton to the White House "hatchet man" Chuck Colson, God saves people from their slavery to sin and uses them to restore others. Indeed, those of us who never did anything particularly shocking sometimes have trouble fitting in.

Evangelical pews are full of people whose family lives are untidy. If we get angry when a teen gets pregnant, it is not at the hot-blooded teens but at the fashion and entertainment industries that persistently sexualize the images of the young and set them up for bad choices. It's no wonder: One recent study showed that adolescents with a sexually charged media diet are more than twice as likely as others to have sex by the time they turn 16. Teen pregnancy is one of the situations in which it is easiest for us to hate the sin but love the sinner.

The second media reaction that caught our attention was liberal puzzlement over conservatives who believe that only men should lead churches and marriages, yet who would not hesitate to have a woman a heartbeat away from the presidency.

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Filed under: Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
October 28th, 2008
04:49 PM ET

New president's 100 days of pressure

Julian E. Zelizer
Professor of history and public affairs, Princeton University

When presidents enter the White House, they have approximately 100 days to show what they are made of.

The notion of a "hundred days" is an artificial creation of Franklin Roosevelt after he became president in 1932 in the Great Depression. But it has become a benchmark for evaluating the early success of a president.

The term is more than symbolic. Some presidents have been able to do a lot with those hundred days. Not surprisingly, Roosevelt was the most successful we have seen. His hundred days lasted from March 9 to June 16, 1933, and Congress passed 15 major bills.

Roosevelt, in a period of experimental genius, found support from Congress for a series of programs to help stabilize an economy where 25 percent of the work force was unemployed and banks were imploding as panicked citizens pulled out their money.

The humorist Will Rogers joked that "Congress doesn't pass legislation any more, they just wave at the bills as they go by," though in reality Democratic leaders were instrumental in initiating many of the ideas that came from the White House and making sure that they passed by sound margins.

Roosevelt understood that he had a limited window of opportunity after his election, and he moved fast. "I do not see how any living soul can last physically going the pace that he is going," said Hiram Johnson, "and mentally any one of us would be a psychopathic case if we undertook to do what he is doing."

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Editor's note: Julian E. Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. He is the co-editor of "Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s" and is completing a book on the history of national-security politics since World War II, to be published by Basic Books.

Filed under: 360° Radar
October 28th, 2008
04:44 PM ET

The first 100 days: What to expect in an Obama presidency

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Patrick Buchanan
Real Clear Politics

Not only is Obama ahead in the state and national polls, he has more money, is running far more ads, has a superior organization on the ground, attracts larger crowds, and has greater enthusiasm and more media in camp. And new voter registrations heavily favor the Democrats.

Though Congress is regarded by Americans with a disdain bordering on disgust - five of six Americans think it has done a poor job - Democratic majorities are certain to grow. Indeed, with Democrats favored by 10 points over Republicans, Nancy Pelosi's majority could grow by 25 seats and Harry Reid could find himself with a filibuster-proof majority of 60 senators.

Democrats already have 49, plus two independents: Socialist Bernie Sanders and Independent Joe Lieberman. Their challengers are now ahead in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, New Mexico, Minnesota, Oregon and Colorado, with a chance of picking up Georgia, Alaska, Kentucky and Mississippi.

We may be looking at a reverse of 1980, when Reagan won a 10-point victory over Jimmy Carter, and Republicans took the Senate and, working with Boll Weevil Democrats, effective control of the House.

With his tax cuts, defense buildup and rollback policy against the "Evil Empire," Reagan gave us some of the best years of our lives, culminating in America's epochal victory in the Cold War.

What does the triumvirate of Obama-Pelosi-Reid offer?

Rep. Barney Frank is calling for new tax hikes on the most successful and a 25 percent across-the-board slash in national defense. Sen. John Kerry is talking up new and massive federal spending, a la FDR's New Deal. Specifically, we can almost surely expect:

- Swift amnesty for 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens and a drive to make them citizens and register them, as in the Bill Clinton years. This will mean that Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona will soon move out of reach for GOP presidential candidates, as has California.

- Border security will go on the backburner, and America will have a virtual open border with a Mexico of 110 million.

- Taxes will be raised on the top 5 percent of wage-earners, who now carry 60 percent of the U.S. income tax burden, and tens of millions of checks will be sent out to the 40 percent of wage-earners who pay no federal income tax. Like the man said, redistribute the wealth, spread it around.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Raw Politics
October 28th, 2008
01:49 PM ET

Major speed bump ahead

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Tim Lister
CNN Executive Editor

If there was any doubt that somehow the global economy could avoid following US financial institutions into deep crisis, one recent news item may have dispelled it. And it came from Sweden. Volvo disclosed last week that in the third quarter of the year it received a total of 115 orders for its trucks in Europe.

Yes, that's a total of 115 trucks - for all of Europe. The comparable figure for 2007: 41,970 orders.

The American motor industry is hemorrhaging cash and slashing production, but it is clearly not alone. Last week, the Financial Times was able to fill a whole page with gloom from the world’s vehicle makers. Daimler, Fiat and Renault all drastically reduced their profit forecasts for 2009, predicting that even demand in emerging markets like India and Brazil would fall. Renault said it would cut production of cars by 20 per cent in the current quarter and has already idled several plants in France; Peugeot-Citroen planned “massive“ production cuts. Volkswagen fretted that some of its suppliers would go belly-up – unable to secure financing in the midst of the credit crunch. And the elite are not spared: the chief executive of Porsche said there was a “real danger of a conflagration for the whole industry.”

Filed under: Economy • Tim Lister
October 28th, 2008
12:58 PM ET

Calls for felony investigation of ACORN

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Drew Griffin | BIO
CNN Investigative Correspondent

The Indiana secretary of state has not only found ACORN submitted hundreds and hundreds of fraudulent registration forms, but is now asking for investigations by the U.S. Attorney and the local prosecutor for possible felony violations by the group.

As we reported three weeks ago, the ACORN voter registration drive in northwest Indiana was fraught with problems, more than 2,000 voter registration forms turned in by ACORN were no good.

Now the Indiana secretary of state says his review of the ACORN submissions leads him to the opinion ACORN did indeed break the law. In a letter to the U.S. Attorney, the FBI and the local lake county prosecutor, Indiana’s republican secretary of state Todd Rokita says there is credible evidence that ACORN, “its officers, agents and employees, through direct action, conspiracy or inducement” – violated four Indiana state election laws, violated Indiana’s racketeer and corrupt organizations law, and violated federal election law.

Filed under: Drew Griffin • Raw Politics • Voting • Voting issues
October 28th, 2008
12:20 PM ET

Homeless in an economic storm

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/28/art.jill.homeless.jpg caption="Miriam's Kitchen has been providing meals to the homeless for 25 years."]

Jill Dougherty | Bio
U.S. Affairs Correspondent

It’s 6:30 a.m., still dark outside, as the men, along with a few women, line up outside of Western Presbyterian Church in the affluent Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Foggy Bottom. They are homeless, many carrying plastic bags with their belongings. As the doors to the church basement open, they file in, the smell of breakfast wafting up to the street.

On the menu this morning: scrambled eggs, salad, biscuits and gravy, grits and a fruit smoothie made from fresh apples, bananas, strawberries and honey. “Good morning,” one of the young volunteers behind the counter near the kitchen says. “Would you like some grits?” The customers point to what they want, then move to tables where they sit down to enjoy it.

Miriam’s Kitchen has been providing meals and other services to the homeless for 25 years. It’s been at its current location since 1994. Their client list is growing; this past September, its director says, 20% more people came for breakfast than during the same month last year. In 2007 the Kitchen served almost 53,000 meals.

Filed under: Economy • Jill Dougherty
October 28th, 2008
10:33 AM ET

The Shot: Thriller anniversary

Hundreds of people reenact the Thriller dance on its 25th anniversary.

Filed under: T1 • The Shot
October 28th, 2008
09:36 AM ET

Faith-based groups fight foreclosures

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Chuck Afflerbach
CNN San Francisco Producer

On stage at the parish hall, Rosario Frisse told the assembly to close their eyes and count to ten. The five hundred people packed into the auditorium—working class men and women, mothers holding babies, school kids doing homework—all did as she asked.

“In the time it took us to count to ten,” Frisse said, “another family in America has lost their home.”

Their concern showed on their faces, their demands were printed on the paper pennants they waved. Families First. 34% for Housing. Salve Su Casa, Spanish for Save Your Home.

The Monday night meeting had been organized by PICO National Network, a collection of religious congregations across the country tackling the foreclosure crisis on behalf of homeowners caught in the collapse. They came to Holy Rosary Parish in Antioch, California, a blue-collar suburb midway between San Francisco and Sacramento. This town has been hit hard; almost 8% of the homes here have been foreclosed…so far.

One by one the speakers came to the podium to tell their stories. Serefino Leon lost his Antioch home, only to see it sold at auction for half of what he had paid, at a price he could have afforded. Marian Youngblood was a loan officer in Kansas City, trained to falsify income amounts on applications. The borrowers would fall behind by the second loan payment. “As a Christian, it broke my heart,” she said. So she quit.

Filed under: Economy • Faith
October 28th, 2008
09:22 AM ET

Voting problems? Call us

Editor’s Note: Share your early voting experiences with CNN. Send your pictures, video, and iReports.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/28/art.voter.hotline.cnn.jpg]
Adam Levine
CNN Supervising Producer

This election, CNN is running a voter hotline. We are already getting calls from around the country about problems and concerns that voters are having as they try to register, vote absentee, early vote or get information.

The hotline has generated over 10,000 calls so far and we've reported on some of those problems both on CNN and on the CNN Political Ticker

Of the top issues, a third of all of the problems called are about registration issues. After that, the next highest category is integrity issues which pertains to concerns people have about making sure their votes count. Absentee ballot issues make up 15% of the calls, problems with voting machines 9.5% and accessing poll locations have generated 9% of the calls.

We are hearing problems from around the country.

Filed under: Adam Levine • Raw Politics • T1 • Voting issues
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