An important question is whether congress members, the president or VP, senators and other Bible believing politicians will tone down their outspoken beliefs to become more appealing to the growing Millennial Nones. After all so much of the election is dependent on getting the young vote. We may soon begin to see an even larger disconnect between candidates’ private beliefs and their public policies.
The United States’ government has a vast array of Christian members:
- Polls show the percentage of Americans identifying themselves as Christian ranging as high as 85% or beyond.
- The president is a Christian…
- …as is the VP.
- The Speaker of the House is Catholic…
- …and the Senate Majority Leader is Mormon.
- Well over 90% of our Congressional representatives are Christian, with a majority of the remainder being Jewish.
- The Supreme Court features seven Christians and two Jews.
- All of our major presidential candidates in both major parties.
- Almost all of our past presidents; depending on how you count Unitarians, you have to go all the way back to Lincoln (ironically enough, the founder of the GOP) to even find one to debate over;
- Even sports franchises are starting to build their operations around the evangelical litmus test.
- It seems unlikely that a similar review of the legislatures and courthouses in the 50 states would reveal too much variation from this overpowering Judeo-Christian norm.
During last weeks VP debate Vice President Biden made it clear that while he is a devout Catholic, believing that life begins at conception, he will not push his belief on other people. His pronouncement drew cheers and applause from a crowd of young voters watching the debate on TV. Both Biden and Obama have made it clear with their acceptance of abortion and LGBT rights that their Christian beliefs should not be laid upon the United States’ population. Many other Bible claiming politicians seem to agree. So how much will their clear distinction between personal belief and public proclamation help to sway the vote of the unaffiliated?
Phil Zuckerman said in his recent opinion article in Bloomberg.com:
The rise of the “nonreligious” is partly a result of the decline of liberal Christianity. People who might have considered themselves mainline believers a generation or so ago don’t want to be associated with a belief system that they think has been hijacked by the religious right. The religious liberals have become nonreligious liberals.
Secular Americans aren’t an organized lot with a clear political agenda. Unlike religious voters whose convictions often determine their political choices, people are identified by the lack of something — belief in God, faith in Jesus, interest in church. That doesn’t always translate into a predictable voting strategy.
Something else to think about as the November elections appear at the end of the campaign homestretch.