By Sarah Neary | VOR
In a poll done by Pew Research Center, it showed how certain religious groups tend to side with one party over the other. Data like this leads us to suspect that our religious affiliation could basically determine who we vote for. Yet, opposing evidence suggests otherwise. The ultimate question is how our faith may just as well influence who gets elected as president this year
In their findings, they compared which religious groups identified with either the Republican or Democratic Party for both 2008 and 2011. The results showed that there was an increase in Mormons leaning toward Republicans, along with Jewish and Mainline Protestants.
The ideals that are within any religion are sacred and holy. Still, political commotion could get mixed in with devout congregations as some talking points are shared between groups. Take for instance gay marriage, which many politicians have a stance on whether it is acceptable or not, and even abortion. Both of these topics are debated on, on the campaign trail and within religious groups.
“Religion is a primary identification. It’s one of the things that we do take on from a very early age and it’s much more all-encompassing than politics is, I mean religion and our religious commitments shape every aspect of our lives, from our family life to our life in community to the values that we bring to our work life and politics is aspect of that,” explained Matthew Wilson political science professor at Southern Methodist, to the Voice of Russia.
Wilson goes on to say that he gathers, it is right to see religion as a more primary attachment, allegiance and value set and politics is kind of a secondary one that might stem from that. Despite religion acting as a stronger base for Americans, in a Gallup survey conducted in 2012, 18 percent of Americans say they wouldn’t vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, that’s nearlyone in five.
“I don’t accept the premise that religion alone is what affects an overall decision on a vote,” said Debbie Hines trial lawyer, former prosecutor, and legal/political commentator, to the Voice of Russia. Hines is not isolated with her opinion. A poll that came out in July of this year declared that 66 percent of Americans believe religion is losing its influence in their life. Some think it’s good that religion is not as compellingas it used to be, but only a small portion accept this ideology.
“The world is just so much more complicated now universally than what it was earlier and I think that that ties into religion not having as much as an impact as combined with the other factors, which have an impact on politics,” said Hines, who wrote an article on church and politics on the Huffington Post’s site.
Nobody tells the religion overpowering politics story better than the people themselves. On the Minnesota Public Radio’s site, they asked their followers, if religious beliefs affect the way they vote. Comments on this poll poured in about why they choose the answer they did.
Joel said “The specific religion of a candidate does not impact my voting, but how they engage in their religion does.” Another viewer named Greg posted that religion strongly affects his voting if he senses that a candidate has strong religious beliefs he is inclined not to vote for them. Others contributors said religion has no power over which politician they select.
As with every social debate over whether or not our faith predicts our future decisions in the voting booth, there always seems to be an exception to this rule. On the Pew Forum, a different report released in September 2012, revealed that the Democratic Party still holds a strong advantage over Republicans with Black Protestants.
“Race triumphs religion, race triumphs economics, African Americans are overwhelmingly democratic, have been for 40 years. Pretty much no matter what other allegiances they may hold,” clarified Wilson, author of From Pews to Polling Placesand will be coming out with another book in 2013 which will be related to religion and politics.
Even though the percentage is undeniably high amongst this demographic, Hines sees it from a different view point. She said that when it’s all said and done African Americans are no different from white Evangelicals in a sense that they’re voting based on their values, what’s important to them.
Tuesday’s election date will be here before we know it. Dozens of policies including gay marriage and abortion will cross our minds before we finally pick. The deeper influence in that very decision may be the god factor. Nevertheless, it should definitely be one based not on religion by itself, but ideals that are close to our hearts and line up with our own moral values.