Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Faith, Politics, and the 2010 Election (NPR)

NPR did a story today on the Brookings Institutes study on religion and its effect on the 2010 elections.

Do you think that Obama's religious views are similar to yours? Here's what the study said:
The survey found that 51 percent of Americans saw the president’s religious views as different from their own, including 16 percent who saw them as “somewhat” different and 35 percent who saw them as “very different.” Only 40 percent see the president’s religious beliefs as similar to their own, including only 12 percent who saw them as “very” similar.  This question sharply divides Americans along racial lines: 74 percent of African-Americans see the president’s religious views as similar to their own, compared with just 35 percent of white Americans.

We do not want to exaggerate the importance of these new religious divisions. Views on the nature of President Obama’s religious faith parallel political attitudes toward the president.  Voters who are hostile to him on political grounds are likely to distance themselves from his views on other matters, including religion.  In the PRRI survey, 94 percent of those who said Obama’s religious views were “very similar” to their own had a favorable view of the president.  Among respondents who said his religious views were “very different” from their own, 78 percent had an unfavorable view of him.
What does this even mean? I guess since Obama states that he is a Christian and believes in God, I would have to say that his views are "very different" from my own. But I have a generally favorable view of him. I just don't get it. If you're a theist, and you claim to be a Christian, I guess your views are pretty similar to people who make similar claims. I just don't get it all of this fuss over IMAGINARY CHARACTERS!!!!

Coincidentally, American Exceptionalism was also mentioned in the report. A shocking 6 in 10 people believe America is a chosen nation, singled-out by God for a special mission in the world. Wow. That's kind of scary. I mean... that's clearly embedded in our national psyche and that freaks me out. What is our mission? What is it that we are supposed to do out there? And are our current engagements even copacetic with that idea? Is a war in Afghanistan and Iraq conducive to a special mission in the world? If this is what a majority of Americans believe, how come we aren't doing more to make the world a better place???

What scares me is that a large part of these surveyed people might actually believe in Armageddon. Is that what our mission is really all about? Spooky.

1 comment:

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