Voters and religion, Hmong Christians, Musicians get protections, “Gosnell” opens

Weekly Review

Got Religion? The folks who run political campaigns are finally discovering that a person’s religion might affect his actions, including the way he votes. A new story from Religion News Service says campaigns are using data mining techniques to learn the religious preference of voters, and they’re targeting messages accordingly. The article says campaigns are now focusing “more on mobilizing voters of known views, rather than convincing a broad middle.” So, knowing the religious preferences of these voters become vital. Eitan Hersh, associate political science professor at Tufts University, told RNS that “data sets like this can be used to speak to religious voters without being offensive to nonreligious ones. An ad containing messages about helping the poor, the stranger, the needy or the sick could connect with believers, for instance, without being seen as ‘too religious’ for other voters with a secular interest in social justice. Other ads might hammer particular voters with highly targeted ads pointing out, say, an opponent’s support for abortion.” You can find the entire article here.

Christians Hmong Us. The Hmong people are a fairly small group. They make up only about 1-million of Vietnam’s more than 80-million people. But as many as 400,000 of them are Christians, thanks in part to a Hmong pastor from California who broadcast Bible readings and the Gospel in the Hmong language on the Far East Broadcasting Company. According to an article in WORLD, “Whole villages accepted Christ as they found this Jesus more powerful than the ancestral spirits they had worshipped: He freed them from spiritual attacks and bondage.” Now, those Hmong Christians are playing a role in changing their country.

Musicians Getting Their Due. The Music Modernization Act became law this week. The new law should make it easier for artists to collect royalties for music shared online. Among the musicians at a signing ceremony at the White House were Kid Rock, John Rich (of the band Big and Rich), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (Steely Dan), and the Christian band MercyMe. Trump said the law would close loopholes in current copyright law that hurt artists. “They were treated very unfairly,” the president said. “They’re not going to be treated unfairly anymore.”

 “Gosnell” Opens. “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” opened last weekend on nearly 700 screens and did about $1.2 million at the box-office. WORLD Magazine’s Megan Basham said, “The performances, production, and pacing of the movie more than do justice to the difficult subject matter.” But she was mostly alone in her assessment. The vast majority of film critics chose not to review the film, and those mainstream critics that did review it gave the movie a lukewarm assessment. Still, the fact that such a movie got made at all is something of a marvel, and Karen Swallow Prior wrote in the Washington Post that the film shines a light not only on the horrors of abortion, but also the “systemic regulatory and community failures and incompetence that enabled him to continue unchecked for so many years. Based on the evidence brought forth in the trial, the film portrays this reluctance to investigate Gosnell as rooted in the sense that it would be political suicide for any official to be seen as ‘attacking abortion.’ If this is indeed the current political reality, then assurances made by abortion advocates that Gosnell was a ‘rogue’ provider carry little promise.”

Milestones. Chuck Colson was born on this day in 1934…. Also born this week in history: Keith Green (Oct. 21, 1953) and Rich Mullins (Oct. 21, 1955).


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