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Michael O'Loughlin :
49 article(s)

Mike O'Loughlin is a writer living in Washington, D.C., covering religion, politics, and culture. In addition to Busted Halo, his writing appears in the Advocate, National Catholic Reporter, Foreign Policy, Religion & Politics, and America. He's also appeared on Fox News and MSNBC. Follow him on twitter at @mikeoloughlin.
May 17th, 2012
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are faithful men who don’t shy away from talking about their beliefs. What does this mean for American religion?

President Barack Obama writes eloquently about his faith journey in The Audacity of Hope, describing Easter and Christmas visits to church, Chinese New Years spent at Buddhist temples, and time at Shinto shrines and ancient Hawaiian burial grounds. His multivalent childhood gave way to a deeper examination of faith when he lived in Chicago working for Catholic-funded nonprofits as a young community organizer. Finally, after struggling through an inner journey of doubt and disbelief, Obama writes that he:
was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ one day and be baptized. It came about as a choice and not an epiphany; the questions I had did not magically disappear. But kneeling…

May 3rd, 2012

Living in Washington, D.C., the loud buzz of helicopters is a standard piece of the city’s soundscape, blending in with the traffic and sirens that stop silence dead. Earlier this year, when I read about various governments in the Arab world that had deployed armed security forces to ride around in helicopters and kill protestors and dissidents, that noise became a bit jarring. The image wouldn’t leave my mind. When I ran around the national mall, whenever I heard that loud hum I couldn’t help but think of those who were killed by thugs in the sky. I imagined what it would be like to experience something similar, and my eyes would dart around looking where I might hide. There was really nowhere to go.
Earlier this…

April 19th, 2012

When he was running for president in 2007, Gov. Mitt Romney recognized that he would need Evangelical support were he to win the nomination. Then, like now, Evangelicals were suspicious of Romney for two reasons: his conservative credentials seemed less than genuine, and his Mormon faith is too far outside the mainstream.
Though there was only so much he could do to try to assuage Republican primary voters that he was indeed one of them, Romney thought he could make headway on the religious front by giving a Kennedy-esque speech about the role of religion in politics, tackling his Mormon faith head-on and appealing to the higher sensibilities of the American people.
So at the George Bush Presidential Library and…

April 5th, 2012
Remembering the poor and marginalized when we're crunching numbers

Ron Swanson, the man’s man parks director played by Nick Offerman on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” is a libertarian who believes “child labor laws are ruining this country.” He describes government as “a greedy piglet that suckles on a taxpayer’s teat until they have sore, chapped nipples.”

March 22nd, 2012
How candidates’ views on immigration reform are shaping up in this year’s election

The Republican Party may have a Latino problem on its hands. The remaining candidates seeking the party’s nomination have taken an unusually harsh tone regarding immigration, and the two Catholic candidates are at odds with their Church about the rights of migrant people.

March 8th, 2012

Radio provocateur and conservative ringleader Rush Limbaugh entered the national conversation around the Health and Human Services contraception mandate, taking the already heated rhetoric to a new low.

February 23rd, 2012

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the day that Catholics and other Christians set aside to begin a season of reflection, repentance, and preparation for Easter, the holiest feast on the Christian calendar. Catholics and some “high-church” Protestants, especially Lutherans and Episcopalians, mark Ash Wednesday with a smudge of ashes of their foreheads, compelling them to don a public marker on their faith and to be a reminder to others of our shared mortality and need for a savior.
You might have seen some well-known Catholic politicos sporting ashes yesterday. Vice President Joe Biden regularly receives an imposition of ashes, leading to a memorably bizarre exchange between two BBC reporters who suspected…

January 31st, 2012

Despite a couple fumbles in the week leading up to the South Carolina primary, and then being routed in that contest by Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney has won the Florida GOP primary and appears poised once again to reclaim the moniker of “inevitable nominee.” Though Gingrich still leads in national polls, Romney’s win in Florida demonstrates his superior organization, outsized fundraising prowess, and his favor with the conservative establishment.
In the days leading up to the Florida contest, as it became clear that Gingrich would lose to Romney, the former Speaker of the House was defiant that he would stay in the race right through the summer. With Gingrich now realistically the only candidate left between…

January 27th, 2012

GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney released his tax returns this week, and much of the focus has been on his astronomical income and the relatively low tax rate he paid on those earnings. But also embedded in those IRS forms is evidence of Romney’s charitable giving. Over the past two years, Mitt Romney took in more than $40 million. Of that, he gave nearly $7 million to charity, almost half of which went to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as the Mormon Church.
Contrast Romney’s giving with a couple Roman Catholic politicos. The avuncular Vice President Joe Biden reported on his returns that he gave $369 to charity, though in fairness to him, he said he does not report contributions…

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