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Camden, NJ soup kitchenDinner is served at the Cathedral Kitchen soup kitchen which serves 300 to 600 meals a day, six days a week, to the needy and hungry in Camden, New Jersey. The U.S. Census Bureau cites Camden as the most impoverished city in the United States with a 19 percent unemployment rate. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In the most recent presidential debates, candidates have addressed issues ranging from foreign policy to domestic spending, with little mention of religion. Are the candidates failing to make room in public discussion for morality and values among weighty political issues?

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Joanna Brooks thinks so. Speaking with her shortly before the Republican National Convention (audio, to the right), Krista cites Ms. Brooks' Religion Dispatches article Romney: “A Life Balanced Between Fear and Greed”?:

"I’m waiting for the story that transcends the flat ethnicity paradigm and gets the deeper and more persistent question of religion and moral bearings:

How does the most religiously devout candidate in recent memory reconcile a life of religious commitment with a values-neutral approach to work, livelihood, and the marketplace?

Why does religion play an outsized role in the politics of gay marriage and contraception but apparently has no say when it comes to big-ticket items like national spending and economic policy?"

Joanna BrooksMs. Brooks responds by expanding her thoughts on faith in public life, how it has been used inappropriately instead of in service to many of our country's most vulnerable:

"In the public sphere religion has been weaponized around a very few political issues. Most of which have to do with very private intense personal choices."

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