The recent battle in Washington between people of faith and the Obama administration about the Department of Health and Human Services’ new contraception mandate clearly illustrates that nothing is sacred in politics.
It’s situations like this that prompt blogger Thomas Peters (@AmericanPapist) to consider attempts to “silence and marginalize” conservatives and people of faith as the number one threat to the conservative movement.
A southern California native, Peters now resides in D.C. He grew up in a conservative Catholic household, and attended Ave Maria College in Michigan. He then earned his M.A. in Theology at Sacred Heart Seminary, where he began blogging.
“I found it a nice change of pace from my homework,” he said.
What began as commentary on the Catholic Church grew political as Peters moved to the nation’s capital and started his second Master’s at the Dominican House of Studies. Two years and 17,000 tweets later, he’s a seasoned blogger, writing on his American Papist blog at CatholicVote.org. He’s also a speaker and political activist, making a splash in the social conservative movement.
“Social media is essential for keeping a tight-knit online community of experts and activists,” Peters said, adding, “It’s a very immediate way to keep supporters informed.”
As a dedicated social conservative, Peters closely follows Steve Ertelt (@StevenErtelt) of LifeNews.com, pro-life activist Jill Stanek (@JillStanek), and the Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso (@Freddoso) and Timothy Carney (@TPCarney) for all things newsworthy.
“I actually enjoy following a few left-wing activists because it’s important to know what both sides are thinking in real-time,” he added. Among them: Daily Kos (@DailyKos), The Advocate (@TheAdvocateMag) and Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte).
Social media is more than just a way to find news and self-promote, and Peters is one of a handful of conservatives who have successfully initiated and organized Twitter campaigns to get conservative issues trending. During the 2012 March for Life, followers retweeted him hundreds of times.
In addition to blogging, Peters works at the National Organization for Marriage where he is overseeing a project to identify and encourage young activists who are pro-marriage.
Marriage could be a big issue this year, with a number of states – like Washington and Maryland – considering legislation to legalize gay marriage. Other states, including Minnesota and North Carolina, are trying to add traditional marriage to the state constitution.
As part of his work for NOM, Peters travels the country speaking to young people, and teaching them how to defend their views.
“We have to work hard at understanding our own conservative principles so we are better equipped to defend and promote them,” He said.
And social media is key, he noted, “It contributes to a more robust and free democracy.”