A new survey finds a narrow majority of the public saying that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters and not express their views on day-to-day social and political matters.Now I wasn't surprised about this, because the progressive side has long been upset by the air of theocracy underlying the vicious politics in the unholy alliance between neo-cons and religious fundamentalists. But knock me over with a feather:
The new national survey by the Pew Research Center reveals that most of the reconsideration of the desirability of religious involvement in politics has occurred among conservatives. Four years ago, just 30% of conservatives believed that churches and other houses of worship should stay out of politics. Today, 50% of conservatives express this view.. So, are the conservatives "catching on" to the American Dream? Are they realizing that our robust secular state requires us to tolerate each other, and not impose our religious values on those who do not share them? Not so much:
...the change of mind about the role of religious institutions in politics is most apparent among people who are most concerned about the very issues that churches and other houses of worship have focused on, and among those who fault the parties for their friendliness toward religion.....That is, the study found that the less educated, more fundamentalist someone is, the more that it is that they think social issues are the defining political questions of our time, and the more likely they are disillusioned with the political system. Because George Bush did not succeed in outlawing abortion, or sending all us gay folks off to prison, apparently.
Of course, this is a good jumping off point for a vigorous discussion. At what point is it appropriate that your faith values direct your voting habits? at what point can it go too far by impinging on the rights of those who do not share your faith values?