2018-10-31

The relationship between Americans’ religiousness is persistent and a well-documented social pattern.

Newport writes that the relationship between religiosity and party identification in the U.S. has been both constant across time and most demographic groups within the population, including age, gender, religion and socio-economic status. Within those categories, Americans who are the most religious are the most likely to be Democratic. However, one exception to the basic religiousness and party identification relationship occurs among black Americans, who tend to be the most Democratic of any major race and ethnic group measured. Black Americans tend to be very religious, but the political orientation of blacks who are nonreligious does not vary significantly from those who are very religious.

President Trump’s polarizing presidency could be changing evangelicalism in America.

In Margolis’ opinion piece, she talks about religious identity in the age of Donald Trump. While there is often the narrative that religious beliefs lead white evangelicals to the Republican Party, she discusses how this narrative ignores the flips side – that President Trump’s polarizing presidency could be changing evangelicals in America. Margalois explains, “Hearing evangelical leaders praise Mr. Trump and noting his persistent approval among white evangelicals, white Trump supporters may find themselves more and more drawn to the evangelical label and to churches they know will be filled with politically like-minded congregants. And “Never Trumpers” – especially those raising children – may refuse to embrace the evangelical label and search for churches more in line with their politics.” Those engaged in politics are looking for religious communities where their political beliefs, particularly around religious morals and values are shared.

Religion is important for American politics because religion is important for Americans. Statistics show that the U.S. is extraordinarily high on religion for a developed country. Yet, there are factors in American political life that amplify the role of religion in a way that is not seen in other developed countries. Contrary to the popular belief, politics can play a pretty big role in people’s religious attitudes and beliefs.