Politics And Religion: The Demographics

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. 


Come the the Red River Freethinkers conference, Sept 24.  The biggest debate ever in ND between a Christian & atheist.  Speakers and new friends.  www.redriverfreethinkers.org 


34 Responses

  1. Bob

    You know how in Europe, in countries like the U.K. they have a state religion and for some reason those countries are less religious, despite that they have a state appointed religion.
    Perhaps their is some psychology behind that. Perhaps the more politicians push religion, the more disgusted and less religious everyone will become here in the U.S.

    Except for Ron Paul. He might be religious, but he seems to know to keep it mostly to himself. Smart guy. I’ll vote for Libertarian Ron Paul.

    1. Bob 10:17 Europe and the U. S. are interesting to compare. For whatever reason, religion seems to be leaving Europe rapidly. We are moving more slowly in that direction. Will we stop becoming more secular, or, will it accelerate–no one knows I suppose.

      1. We are also moving toward societal collapse. When it happens we will we will realize we have strayed too far from our biblical founding and we will try to find our way back. Another point: Europe is nominally Christian, America is conveniently so, though apostate now.

        1. Nearly every society in the history of humanity has had at its core religion, and nearly all of them have failed. It’s just silly to think that a lack of faith is the cause of societal collapse. Societies are complex systems, there is no single cause of success or failure. There so complex and contingent on circumstance that truely discerning cause and effect in the rise and fall of societies is exceedingly difficult, perhaps impossible. Which may get us part way down the road to explaining the enduring popularity of imaginary explanations like Oden, Zeus, Yaweh, etc.

        2. Michael 5:46 The end is near. The end is near. It’s an old line used by religions and political despots since the beginning of time. I heard it this morning. Our lovable Co. K in Libya said he should not be overthrown because the country will fall apart.

  2. Bob

    To Michael Ross 5:46, go back and look at my comments from Jon’s last post. I have to comments on verses from the Abrahamic text the bible. When you really read the bible, its a lousy book to live by. But so are the torah and koran, the other two Abrahamic texts. I mean, Jesus isn’t even a nice guy.

    I think if we stick to the constitution, and bring all our military home, including the ones in Japan, Germany, Italy (thats how come those countries can afford free health care because they don’t have to pay for a military because we provide a free military for them) and so on, and if we stop sending our jobs overseas, we in the U.S. will be fine.
    So vote Ron Paul, Michael.

    1. Henry

      “go back and look at my comments from Jon’s last post.”

      Yes, and cherry-picked sentences from the Federal Register and carefully assembled would produce the same effect or worse. Doesn’t prove anything.

  3. Bob

    That’s a good idea Seaofstories, sorry if anyone gets sick of me plugging for RON PAUL!!!!!!! I’m just so sick of all the other politicians.

    Henry, you did not address my comments on Jesus. If you go back and read them, he is NOT a nice guy. He was jealous, spiteful, rude, and dangerous, a killer and torturer. He still is. If you read what he’s said, anyone would be an A-class fool to worhip him. The dude’s a dud.

        1. Wanna 3:31 “One man’s opinion.” From that I take views to the contrary, i. e., he was not jealous, spiteful and threatening as in the sword remark, are also just someone’s opinion.

          1. Wanna B Sure

            Let me clarify; His last paragraph.; ” He is NOT a nice guy. He was jealous, spiteful, rude, and dangerous, a killer and torturer, he still is. If you read what he’s said, anyone would be an A-class fool to worship him. The dude’s a dud.” Again, one man’s opinion, a very excitable and emotional man.

          2. Wanna 3:51 I still trying to differentiate between what is “one man’s opinion” and what you might call fact. I one concluded he was a nice, kind and caring person, would this be fact or opinion?

          3. Wanna 4:49 I apologize if I seemed to argue. It’s just that when you stated Bob’s view of Jesus was just an opinion, I was led to believe you had a way of separating opinion on the personality of Jesus from that which is not opinion.

            There are several passages which support Bob’s view of the Jesus character. The remarks attributed to Jesus show him talking of the sword, saying nasty things to his mother and having a very high opinion of himself. I gather from your circuitous answers you are now not claiming your own views of Jesus are other than opinions either. Am I correct about this?

          4. Wanna B Sure

            And then you can read the beatitudes. From the sermon on the mount. One must take into consideration the context, the time, and the situation of the statements spoken. If this is done, one wouldn’t come to Bob’s conclusion, unless there was extreem prejudice, (which there is). Remember Ghandi”s statement regarding Jesus? He specifically pointed out the sermon on the mount, and his agreement. He however was not so generous with Western Christianity, and I can agree with that on the whole.

          5. Wanna B Sure

            You also have to take into consideration Ghandi’s experience with Western Christianity in India. India was under controll of England, and that means the influence of members of the Church of England, (Anglicans). India and Ghandi were trying to gain freedom from the influence of English domination, and there was resistence. I suppose the English were more gentle than other empires, but at the time, the Indians probably didn’t see it that way. The English did leave their former colonies better prepaired others though. Ghandi is understandable in his assumption.

          6. Wanna B Sure

            Soooo—If you want proof, I don’t know if you would accept proof. What I presented was evidence. Not verses taken out of context.

  4. .E

    “Nearly every society in the history of humanity has had at its core religion,
    and nearly all of them have failed. ”

    What societies has succeeded?

  5. Bob

    Why Jesus is not worth following:

    First: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Called the Ethic of Reciprocity, which predates Jesus by millenia. The problem with this is, you wouldn’t want a sado masachist following this preaching.
    Speaking on the mount, Jesus said, “I say unto you, that you resist not evil. But whoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”Mathew 5:36 or 39. So don’t resist evil, let them hurt you. But this is preposterous as a moral teaching. This lays the grounds for some of the most grotesque violations of human society. When Jewish people were being exterminated by the Nazis, who would have had the audacity to turn the other cheek? Same with rape victims and so on.

    Second: The idea of that Christ can forgive evil action. John 1:9 KJV (king james version) Jesus forgives all if you ask him. But imagine being assauted by violent thugs during which they delight in causing you misery–you would have good reason to wish justice. But justice has no meaning in a world where thugs feel no guilt–because the thugs believe christ forgives their sins. Forgiveness is a necessity for feelings of guilt to go away but under christ–the thugs will not need your forgiveness, they don’t offer you an apology, because Jesus has already forgiven them, they are cleansed of their sins, all of them, no matter how heinous. Imagine if a judge forgave a rape victim’s perpetrator on behalf of her. That would be wrong. It is up to the rape victim or not, not the judge/invisible jesus. Forgiveness can only be given by those wronged. The preaching of the Nazarene is vile. No crime is too grotesque for jesus.

    Third: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” It is creepy that jesus commanded everyone to love him more than anyone else. Then after loving jesus most, we are supposed to love our neighbor more than ourself. Love indiscriminantly everyone. This brutalizes the notion of love. Not everyone deserves our love. Love both the selfless charity worker, and a serial sex offender or and murderer equally. This is not moral. This is incompetant.

    If I could save a life, I would. Jesus is all powerful, but doesn’t save people. This is not moral. God is an abyssmal underachiever.
    This degrades human acts of altruism.

    1. Henry

      Bob doesn’t seem to distinguish between agape, philia, storge, and eros. Curious on what his wife thinks of that. To Bob, love apparently is love, I guess keeping it simple…..

      Again, this is another example and predominant theme of black-and-white thinking from some of these “free” thinkers.

  6. Bob

    You wouldn’t know me on the streets Wanna and Henry. I’d shake your hand and smile at you, and we’d never know how fundamentally different we think.

    But we have the constitution and our American freedoms in common.

    1. Henry

      Besides that, I wouldn’t be able to tell who you are for all the light particles in the way, or so I am told.

    2. Wanna B Sure

      That might be, but the “streets” is not truly revealing. I”d love to see a Meyers-Briggs personality profile on you. But then again, maybe I wouldn’t.

  7. Bob

    I’m an INTJ, or Intuitor, Extrovert, Thinker, Judger. INTJ’s are only five percent of the population. The hallmark of an INTJ, is (not surpriseingly) independence of thought and a desire for efficiency. I’ve taken two Meyers Briggs at two different times in my life, and still came out the same both times.

  8. I agree with Jesse Ventura. religion is just another organization for weak minded people. I don’t see how the catholics can sleep at nite. the pope thinks he’s god and they are all rich and follow what the bible says at all.

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