Monday, March 26, 2012


Is There Too Much Religion in our Politics?

According to this article, "For the first time since 2001, a plurality of Americans say there is too much religious talk from politicians." The survey in question was taken by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a group that should be noted as Religiously inclined. According to the poll, 38% of Americans think that there is too much Religious rhetoric used by politicians, while 25% think there is not enough. Another 30% stated that the amount of Religious rhetoric used by politicians is "just enough." Compare this to 2010, when responders to the same poll answered differently. 37% said that they believed there was too little talk of faith compared to 29% who said there was too much. What could make such a difference in just two years? It is not a changing of political strategy, but rather a changing in political proximity. What I mean by this is that candidates have recently been more inclined to talk religion in order to fire up their base with a new presidential election around the corner. This has been especially true for the Republican candidates, and Rick Santorum might be the leader of the pack when it comes to intertwining religion and politics.

Over 60% of Santorum's supporters said that churches should express political views, while 57% of Romney's supporters said churches should stay out of politics. This makes it seem that strict evangelicals are more likely to support Santorum if he was the Republican candidate that if Romney was it. However, maybe these candidates should look to another poll by the same group to decide if their Religion-heavy campaigns are truly going to help them win the election. When "asked whether churches should be involved in politics," 54% of Americans "said they should stay out," while only 40% said that "it was fine for churches to express political and social views. This shows that a majority of Americans would rather Religion take a back seat to political issues in the upcoming election, something the Republicans need to be aware off.

The poll also recognized a large split between Democratic and Republican responders on the question regarding "religion entering the political realm." Almost half of Democrats (46%) said that there was "too much religious talk from politicians," while only a quarter of Republicans (24%) came to the same conclusion. Interestingly, the percentages for both groups has increased since 2010. Clearly this shows that Republican voters in general are much more favorable of Religion being at the forefront of their candidate's platform. However, this does not mean that the Democrats can exclude religious issues from their campaign. The recent healthcare debate has soured some voters on Obama, specifically Catholics who feel that their Religious Freedom is being persecuted by being forced to provide coverage for birth-control devices. According to another poll, 23% of responders said that President Obama is "unfair to religion." For context, only 17% thought that in 2010.

What do you think about the pervasiveness of Religion in Politics? Are these results close to what you thought they would be? What do these statistics tell us about America today? What do they tell us about the upcoming election? Please leave some comments with your thoughts.


Alexis A said...

Personally, I think that religion should not be a factor in politics. Candidates are allowed to believe what they want and have their own set of morals and values, but this should not be the basis of their candidacy. Simply claiming that you are a Mormon or a Christian is not enough information for anyone to make a rational decision. It pleases me that the majority of Americans would rather make a decision based on the political and economic positions of the candidates rather than their religious views. This gives me hope for future elections where research and reasoning skills might yield better results which are more representative of the American people's desires.

Charlesha L. said...

I do agree that religion should not be the forefront of political and presidential election but I would like to point out that most times religious background, morals and values shape the person at hand and most of the candidates involved in this election debates. The reason I find that most republican candidates use religion as their political strategy is because they are strongly based off of Christian beliefs and expressing these beliefs draw to connection with most of the public meaning evangelicals. Based on the implications of this post and the poll presented by the Pew forum, the change in political strategy and the change of voters on religion in politics has steered the direction the upcoming election is taking.

Christiana Torere said...

This was an interesting article. I have often thought religion is another way for certain Politian’s to split a vote. I honestly believe that there is definitely too much religion in politics, not saying that I’m not a spiritual and religious individual, My religious beliefs is not deciding factor when it comes down to me selecting a Politian for office. Topics like a abortion and contraception are subjects I often despise, simply because certain religious individuals are often blinded by such foolishness that doesn’t help better the country, but they will let one issue like these decide who they put in office.

joycek said...

I agree that there is too much religious rhetoric, particularly in the 2012 presidential elections. The degree of religiosity a candidate displays should not be an electability factor. Based on the figures you give, it can be interpreted that religion is dividing the parties instead of political issues causing the divide. It seems that religion is leading the argument.