Exit polling from the last two presidential elections tell us that the Blue State / Red State split, the liberal / conservative split, the men / women split, and a few other splits all pale in comparison to the religious split. And no, the United States isn’t about to implode along Protestant-Catholic or Christian-Islamic lines or anything like that.
But the fact is that one of the most important trends in politics is that those who regularly attend church or a house of worship prefer the Republican Party by a wide margin while those who don’t attend regularly prefer the Democrats by a similarly wide margin.
Why is this so? There are many reasons, but the fact is that this religious divide may define American political and cultural life for some time to come.
Just check the front lines… at cable news, anyway. The folks at Fox and Pat Buchanan over at Scarborough Country seem to be using the Season of Good Cheer as a political weapon of sorts against the ungodly masses. To wit:
“Last week on Scarborough Country, there was Pat Buchanan's distinctly testy-sounding ‘Merry Christmas’ in answer to a guest from the American Atheists association who wished him a happy ‘winter solstice.’”
Meanwhile, the President of all of the religions of the United States wants us to “remember the humble birth of our savior.” This was uttered during a Christmas in Washington variety special.
In this new environment and with a conservative across-the-board government, the religious right is looking to get theirs. Example: Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas will push to “oppose Supreme Court nominees friendly to abortion rights.”
So where does this leave us? I’m not entirely sure. But look for religion and religiosity to be a key wedge issue in national politics for some time to come.