The Democrats’ serial bungling of the “God” and “Jerusalem” issues is being universally derided as an unforced error. And, of course it was. But it was not an error that occurred in a vacuum. On the contrary, these events–dropping any reference to God from the party’s platform, and refusing, in effect, to identify Jerusalem with Judeo-Christian history, followed by the spectacle of a majority of delegates voting against reinstating God and Jerusalem to the platform–reflect, in a fundamental way, the nature of today’s Democratic Party. It has been a truism for some years that religion is one of the chief fault lines of American politics. But consider these remarkable numbers from today’s Rasmussen Reports:
Among those who rarely or never attend church or other religious services, Obama leads by 22 percentage points. Among those who attend services weekly, Romney leads by 24. The candidates are even among those who attend church occasionally.
Romney leads by seven among Catholic voters and holds a massive lead among Evangelical Christians. [Ed.: Remember when one of the chief worries about Romney’s candidacy was that evangelicals wouldn’t support a Mormon?] Among other Protestants, the Republican challenger is ahead by 13. Among all other Americans, including people of other faiths and atheists, Obama leads by a 62% to 26% margin.
The Democrats, bluntly put, have become the party of those who don’t go to church. It is extraordinary that religion has become such a dividing line between the parties, given that none of the country’s major issues relate to religion in any obvious way. What does religion, or the absence thereof, have to do with the country’s $16 trillion debt? With Obamacare? With defending ourselves against terrorists? With bureaucratic regulations that stifle economic growth? On the surface, little or nothing. The parties have to go out of their way to gin up controversies that implicate religion; like, for example, the Democrats’ contraception/abortion mandate or the Republicans’ periodic efforts to support prayer in schools. And yet, the best predictor of a voter’s position on all of the above issues, and many others, is how often he or she attends religious services.
Explaining why that is the case would require much more space and time than this post allows; for the moment, I simply want to note that the Democrats’ seemingly inexplicable fumbling of God and Jerusalem was not inexplicable at all; rather, it reflected that party’s innermost heart.
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