Soulful voice on a Capitol Hill sidewalk

The atmosphere on Capitol Hill's brick sidewalks stays frosty year round as the power-walking professionals rush along in suits of wool-blend armor, their earphones in place, smartphones loaded and eyes focused dead ahead.But things changed at the corner of Second Street and Massachusetts Avenue NE. That's where streams of pedestrians converge near Union Station, the U.S. Senate office buildings, the Federal Judiciary Center, the Heritage Foundation and other buildings packed with prestige and … [Read more...]

That changing God lobby in DC

Believe it or not, politicians used to be able to assume that when the U.S. Catholic bishops spoke on an issue, that meant that the nation's Catholics had spoken.That was so mid-20th century.Before long, Catholic liberals -- backed by Playboy's Hugh Hefner and others -- would dare to create a pro-abortion-rights group called Catholics for Free Choice.Before long, American Catholics would become so divided that traditionalists felt the need to form a group called Priests for … [Read more...]

Alveda King’s old dream

Fox News star Glenn Beck staged the show at the Lincoln Memorial, and then fired up his flock by claiming, "Something that is beyond man is happening. America today begins to turn back to God."Mama Grizzly Sarah Palin almost stole the show with a political shot at President Barack Obama, telling her fans, "You too know that we must not fundamentally transform America as some would want. We must restore America and restore her honor!"But there was only one African-American preacher present … [Read more...]

Breakfast prayer wars

The way President Barack Obama sees things, Americans should be able to find unity in prayer -- even if they disagree on the details of faith and politics.That's true in the current debates about health care, poverty and even gay marriage, he said, at the recent National Prayer Breakfast."Surely we can agree to find common ground when possible, parting ways when necessary," said Obama. "But in doing so, let us be guided by our faith and by prayer. For while prayer can buck us up when we are … [Read more...]

Faith and Tony Snow’s grace

Few things in life cause more shame than encounters with con artists, those old-fashioned predators who know how to massage egos while selling snake oil by the barrel.But painful experiences can lead to big questions and critical insights into the state of one's soul, said White House spokesman Tony Snow, giving the commencement address at the Catholic University of America in 2007. The key is to take a long look in the mirror, to stop making excuses and then to move forward with wide-open … [Read more...]

There’s power in the words

White House scribe Michael Gerson's telephone rang with a vengeance after the 2003 State of the Union address and its claim that there is "power, wonder-working power, in the goodness and idealism and faith of the American people."In the age of Google, it was easy to connect this with the gospel hymn "Power in the Blood," which says there is "power, wonder-working power, in the precious blood of the Lamb." Soon, journalists were calling Gerson's West Wing office asking him to underline all the … [Read more...]

Watching the religious left pray

Anyone watching the annual March for Life will see all kinds of people saying all kinds of prayers as that river of protest against abortion flows toward the U.S. Supreme Court.But as a rule, the Baptist marchers do not pray the rosary with Catholics. Orthodox Jews do not chant the same dirges as Orthodox Christians. It would be rare to see Methodists pray with Mormons, or Presbyterians lifting their hands with the Pentecostals. They are united by a cause, but it is hard to blend their … [Read more...]

Truckers, snipers & prayer

There are still churches left in this land where folks gather every Wednesday night for "prayer meeting," since they're convinced God doesn't just listen on Sundays.Central Church of the Nazarene in Fort Wright, Ky., is that kind of church. Last week, the Rev. Larry Dillon told his mid-week faithful that he felt God wanted them to spend some extra time praying about the sniper attacks near Washington, D.C."We prayed for the victims and their families," he said. "We prayed for the police. We also … [Read more...]