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The Tea Party Isn’t a Political Movement, It’s a Religious One

Tea PartyObama is the Antichrist, Republicans are heretics, and compromise is unholy. Politics can’t explain how the right acts.

America has long been the incubator of many spiritual creeds going back to the Great Awakening and even earlier. Only one of them, Mormonism, has taken root and flourished as a true religion sprung from our own native ground. Today, however, we have a new faith growing from this nation’s soil: the Tea Party. Despite its secular trappings and “taxed enough already” motto, it is a religious movement, one grounded in the traditions of American spiritual revival. This religiosity explains the Tea Party’s political zealotry.

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Republican governors signal shift on gay marriage in bid to attract voters

GOP governorsDeep in the Bible Belt, new signs emerged this weekend of evolving views among Republican governors on gay marriage.

While the Republican Party's religious conservatives continue to fight against same-sex marriage, its governors appear to be backing off their opposition – in their rhetoric, at least. For some, the shift may be more a matter of tone than substance as the GOP tries to attract new voters ahead of the midterm elections. Nonetheless, it is a dramatic turn for a party that has long been defined by social conservative values.

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Christie agency awarded $260m to politically connected New Jersey firm

Chris ChristieNew Jersey governor Chris Christie’s administration has awarded a public subsidy worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars to a politically connected manufacturing firm.

Holtec International, which makes components for power plants, this week secured a $260m tax break from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) – the third-biggest corporate subsidy that the state has awarded.

George Norcross, a powerful Democratic Party “boss” in southern New Jersey, who reportedly struck an important non-aggression pact with Christie, a Republican, during Christie’s re-election campaign, sits on the company’s board of directors.

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Judge rules that Florida's Legislature illegally drew congressional districts to benefit GOP

Florida redistrictingA Florida judge threw out the state's 2012 congressional redistricting plan on Thursday, saying Republicans conspired to manipulate the boundaries to protect the party's majority in Washington and "made a mockery" of the rules of transparency in the process.

In the 41-page ruling Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis specifically ordered that two of the state's 27 districts should be redrawn as they violated a "Fair Districts Florida" standard approved by voters in 2010 to ban legislators from favoring or protecting incumbents.

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Todd Akin retreats from 'legitimate rape' apology

Todd AkinThe former congressman, who lost the 2012 Senate race in Missouri, has written a book that Politico previewed on Thursday.

“By asking the public at large for forgiveness,” Akin writes in the book, “I was validating the willful misinterpretation of what I had said.”

Akin, a conservative Republican locked in a tight race with Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, said in a TV interview in summer 2012 that he believes pregnancy can be prevented by a woman involved in “legitimate rape” because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

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Sandy Hook parents slam 'cowardly' Chris Christie

Chris ChristieNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill Thursday would limit the size of ammunition magazines, criticizing the proposed measure as an ineffective approach to reducing gun violence.

"This is the very embodiment of reform in name only," Christie said.

"It simply defies common sense to believe that imposing a new and entirely arbitrary number of bullets that can be lawfully loaded into a firearm will somehow eradicate, or even reduce, future instances of mass violence. Nor is it sufficient to claim that a ten-round capacity might spare an eleventh victim ... I will not support such a trivial approach to the sanctity of human life, because this is not governing. Governing is confronting problems."

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Hobby Lobby Is Already Creating New Religious Demands on Obama

Hobby LobbyThis week, in the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court ruled that a religious employer could not be required to provide employees with certain types of contraception. That decision is beginning to reverberate: A group of faith leaders is urging the Obama administration to include a religious exemption in a forthcoming LGBT anti-discrimination action.

Their call, in a letter sent to the White House Tuesday, attempts to capitalize on the Supreme Court case by arguing that it shows the administration must show more deference to the prerogatives of religion.

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