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Casey Schoeneberger
Casey Schoeneberger, Faith in Public Life’s Press Secretary, came to FPL from NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby’s Associate Program after studying economics at Saint Joseph’s University. She blogs about tax and budget issues on Bold Faith Type.

Poll of the Week: Climate Change in the 2012 Election

September 23, 2011, 4:45 pm | By Casey Schoeneberger

Further proving how much influence Tea Party members yield over the Republican Presidential field, new polling this week conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service suggests there are large divisions between the beliefs of Tea Party members and the general public on climate change. While “nearly 7-in-10 Americans say that there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades”, only 4-in-10 Americans who identify as Tea Party members agree.


Defying the majority of scientifically-supported research, Tea Party members have radically influenced Republican candidates on climate change. Not only do Tea Party members reject that man-made climate change exists, but as Ezra Klein aptly pointed out,

“…Tea Partiers are also by far the most confident in their beliefs — more likely to say they are “very well informed” and that they “do not need any more information about global warming.” Note that this dovetails with earlier research finding that when you give those dismissive of global warming more information, it only serves to harden their doubts.”

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Panelists Talk About Religion and the 2012 Election

September 23, 2011, 3:59 pm | By Casey Schoeneberger

headshot_olson_laura.jpg John and Laura.jpgAt last week’s Religion News Writers Conference, John Green of the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life and the University of Akron, along with Laura Olson of Clemson University, talked at a panel about “Religion and the 2012 Elections.”

One of Green’s most interesting points came in response to a recent study claiming that the Catholic Bishops’ Faithful Citizenship guide held “no influence” over Catholics in the pews. Green disputed the belief that Catholic Bishops may have a waning influence on voters in the coming election, saying that it may not matter if Catholics even take a look at the guide. What matters is what Green referred to as an “existing cognitive framework”. That framework allows for Catholic Social Teaching to remain couched in Catholic voters’ brains long after they have left the pews or read their last voting guide.

Co-panelist Laura Olson of Clemson University focused her remarks on the religious middle and their enormous influence in the 2012 Election. Both Democrats and Republicans will claim the “budget is a moral document”, but it is not clear yet whether the religious middle will be attracted to a continually shrinking federal budget, or a budget that shows justice and compassion for the poor and vulnerable.

Photo: John Green & Laura Olson

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Clergy Urge Super Committee Members to Reject Anti-Tax Ideology

September 20, 2011, 4:43 pm | By Casey Schoeneberger

super committee.jpgOn a press teleconference this afternoon, Catholic and Protestant leaders released a letter signed by 75 clergy calling for Super Committee members to pursue a balanced and compassionate approach to deficit reduction.

On the call, clergy articulated their support for asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share and called for the Congressional Super Committee to represent all people, not just the wealthiest individuals and corporations.

Religious leaders endorsing the letter are constituents of the Super Committee members who have endorsed Washington lobbyist Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. The letter urges the Senators and Representatives to renounce their “allegiance to this irresponsible pledge and reaffirm [their] oath to represent all Americans, not simply the privileged few.”

The full statement from over 75 faith leaders to Reps. Hensarling, Camp and Upton, and Sens. Kyl, Toomey and Portman can be found here.

UPDATE: Listen to audio of the press conference here: Press Conference.mp3

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Poll of the Week: Budget Priorities

September 16, 2011, 11:40 am | By Casey Schoeneberger

A new Bloomberg News National poll this week disputes GOP rhetoric that American voters are strongly opposed to tax increases on the wealthy. A majority of respondents (51%) said that supercommitee members tasked with reducing the deficit should focus on increasing taxes on those earning more than $250,000, instead of cutting programs like Medicaid.

Among a list of deficit reduction options provided, poll respondents most highly favored (64%) reducing Social Security benefits for high-income earners while least favoring (21%) Medicaid cuts harming low-income people.

Additionally, respondents strongly believe that “unemployment and jobs are the nation’s top concern, cited by 46 percent of Americans, ranking ahead of the combination of the deficit and government spending at 30 percent.”

H/T Igor Volsky, Think Progress

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Is Georgia About to Execute an Innocent Man?

September 16, 2011, 9:53 am | By Casey Schoeneberger

In 1991 Troy Davis was sentenced to death for the murder of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail. But since that trial (in which there was no physical evidence linking him to the scence), seven out of the nine witnesses who testified against him have recanted their testimony, raising serious concerns about Troy’s guilt. Despite these doubts and three previous stays of execution, the state of Georgia decided to proceed with Troy’s execution–now scheduled for next Wednesday September 21st.

Yesterday in Atlanta, advocates delivered petitions from over half a million people urging the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute Troy’s sentence to life in prison.

One of those petitions was a statement from almost 3,500 religious leaders from across the country asking for clemency. According to Stephen Dear, executive director of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, typical petitions for clemency garner around 200 signatures from religious leaders, but Troy Davis’s case has struck a different chord, prompting even such notables as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Pope Benedict XVI to speak up.

Faithful America has joined these efforts with a petition of its own. You can help prevent a potentially innocent man from being put to death by signing their petition here.

With so many lingering doubts and wide array of withdrawn testimony, we can’t risk watching Georgia potentially make a horrific, irreversible mistake.

Photo credit: Amnesty International USA

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