Last Week, Today: What the Iowa Caucus Tells Us

Election analysis...

"Iowa results suggest something deeper: populist liberals are much more committed to institutional engagement than populist conservatives,” Michael tweeted. Read more of his tweeted thoughts on what journalists don’t understand about Ted Cruz and evangelicals.

1. Now deeply Christian, Cruz’ religion once wasn’t so obvious

From 2006 to 2010, Ted Cruz and his wife donated less than 1 percent of income to charity, and nothing to churches. After his successful run in 2012 for the Senate, Cruz suggested that politicians should “avoid ostentatiously wrapping yourself in your faith.” The AP catalogs Ted Cruz’s apparent religious transformation.

2. Marco Rubio’s Crisis of Faith

Marco Rubio made a surprising surge in the Iowa caucus, tying Trump for the white evangelical vote. Check out the story of Rubio’s faith-journey, which he shared to 50 pastors in Iowa last fall, which may have turned the tide for some pastors.

3. Hillary Clinton Gets Personal on Christ and Her Faith

Although Clinton rarely talks about her faith, she spoke at length about it in a town-hall in Iowa. 

“I am a Christian. I am a Methodist. I have been raised Methodist. I feel very grateful for the instructions and support I received starting in my family but through my church, and I think that any of us who are Christian have a constantly, constant, conversation in our own heads about what we are called to do and how we are asked to do it, and I think it is absolutely appropriate for people to have very strong convictions..."

As a companion, read Ruby Cramer’s piece on why Clinton shied away from earnest, open language in the early 1990s, and how she is only now trying to weave her heart-language back into her speeches. 

4. Why Evangelicals are Supporting the Least Religious Presidential Candidate

Does evangelical support for Donald Trump, whom Americans deemed as the “least religious presidential candidate,” indicate that “religion” is no longer the overriding priority for some evangelicals? Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Baileyinvestigate the data. 

For a more qualitative analysis, read this “call to conservative evangelicals” by Alan Noble, editor-in-chief of Christ & Pop Culture.

"Trump’s rise to political prominence is in large part the result of a failure on the part of mainstream conservatives to clean their own house.... Which means that the way we fix this mess is not primarily by defeating Trump (although we pray for that, too!), but by beginning the hard work of showing a better way forward. But this “better way forward” can’t just be for “us.” Conservative evangelical politics must reflect a desire for the good of all people."

If you like Alan's work, don't miss our interview with Alan for our #thinkerthursdayseries and the editorial thinking that goes on behind-the-scenes at his publication.

5. Christian persecution reached record high in 2015

A survey by Open Doors USA, a watchdog group that advocates for persecuted Christians, found that “more than 7,100 Christians were killed in 2015 for ‘faith-related reasons,’ up 3,000 from the previous year.”

PS: If you are tired of reading about elections, check out Tiffany Stanley’s “The Disappearance of a Distinctively Black Way to Mourn.” It is a window into the demographical movements of blacks in America, through the lens of the funeral home. 

Thank you for reading. 

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