There is a strange thing going on. Presidential candidates talk more about religion than ever before. The U. S. public cares less than ever.
Mark Chaves, Professor of sociology and religion at Duke Universty, plots attitudes toward faith in, American Religion: Contemporary Trends.
“The Michele Bachmanns and Rick Perrys of the world are playing to a base that’s much smaller than it was in the 1970’s and 1980’s,” he says. While the U. S. is still a religious country, it is changing.
In 1957, only three per cent of the public said they had no religion. Now that number is 20 per cent. Recent polls reflected only a 20 approval of the Tea Party–a tie so it appears. Also at 20 per cent is the percentage of U. S. adults who attend church services regularly.
One of the most dramatic of the findings are the number of people who do not approve of religious leaders pushing themselves into politics. This disapproval has grown from 30 percent to 44 percent in the last 20 years.
So, one has to wonder why Republican candidates for President spead so much time and “political capital” talking up how religious they are and how important it is to the country that religion play a big role. One explanation, of course, is the primary system.
It takes some motivation for someone to leave their home to go to a political meeting or vote in a primary. Religious voters are seen a people who will do this.
Another explanation is religious candidates are unaware the public has changed.
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