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The role of religion in elections is changing, not declining

The role of religion in elections is changing, not declining

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Diane Winston challenges polling data which suggests that voters are paying less attention to a candidates religion that they used to. She says:

Many other evangelical voters will overlook Romney’s religious label and focus on the practical applications of his faith. Like them, Romney opposes abortion, supports family values and embraces small government and low taxes. Similar to Jews, evangelicals vote against their class interests. Many well-to-do Jews, steeped in tikkun olam — the notion of repairing the world through justice and mercy — vote Democratic. They believe Democrats should promote social welfare even if it means higher taxes, curbs on business and stringent environmental policies. Middle-class evangelicals, by contrast, many of whose incomes have suffered under the ascendancy of free-market policy, support Republicans. They like the party that backs the American trinity: free men, free markets and the freedom for every citizen to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

So when polls and pundits pronounce that religion isn’t a factor in the 2012 election, don’t believe it. Religious labels may be passe, but the religious values that inform who’s taxed, what’s regulated, how jobs are created and when or where we help those in need are more important than ever.

What role does religion play in your electoral choices? And is Winston talking about religious values, or moral values?

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