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The Religious Right

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    What percentage of Republicans would you say belong to the Religious Right? My guess is about 70%.  What do you think?  Are there any polls out there that answer this question?
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    The "religious right" is certainly an influential part of the Republican Party, but the percentage can be misleading. To put the number in perspective, one needs to look first at the bigger picture.  The total United States population is about 307 million.  According to the Census Bureau Report, Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008, issued in May 2010, for the 2008 Presidential election, 206 million citizens aged 18 and over were eligible to vote, but only 146 million had actually registered to vote.

    In the November 2008 election, of the 146 million registered voters, 131 million people voted. In terms of percentages, the voting rate was 58 percent for the total population 18 and older, 64 percent for the voting-age citizen population, and 90 percent for the registered population. The Census Bureau report above does not contain any data on voter party affiliation, but it does contain a comprehensive analysis of the demographics of the voting and non-voting population for those that are interested.

    Getting the numbers for party affiliation are more difficult and subjective.  Only 29 states require registration to vote by party, and according to the registration in those 29 states, 73.5 percent were registered as either Democratic or Republican. By implication, then 26.5 percent were unaffiliated or a member of a minor party. These numbers have little meaning on election day.

    Gallop conducted an analysis in May 2009 of GOP losses by demographic group. According to their telephone poll and analysis, 53 percent of those polled were Democratic or leaning Democratic and only 39 percent Republican or leaning Republican. In terms of basic party identification, Democrats scored 36 percent, Independents 37 percent, and Republicans only 27 percent. Now that's a low number, but again it's not reflective of how people might vote on election day.

    Breaking the Republican demographics down, 52 percent say they attend church weekly, which is unchanged from a prior 2001 survey. Is weekly church attendance indicative of the "religious right?" Interestingly, it is the only category that didn't show a decline from 2001 so one might say that a solid 52 percent of Republicans were regular church goers...and by implication largely supportive of the "religious right." But that poll was for May 2009.  I couldn't find a comparable poll reflecting the voters views for November 2010, but I think it is fair to say that that religious base is still a solid half of the Republican Party. Applying percentages to the Census Bureau numbers, one can come up with a rough number of 30 million.

    When it comes to those that actually voted in the 2010 election, however, the percentage number of Republican religious right voters is likely to be much higher...and maybe as high as 70 percent.  That's because total Republican affiliation probably has continued to drop following the 2009 poll as more moderate Republicans identify themselves as Independents or Libertarians while the core religious groups (the 30 million) have remained loyal within the party.  This is supposition on my part.  But also, the religious right has been very energized and voted in high numbers relative to the other demographic groups...and probably also in higher proportions in 2010 than in 2008.

    I'll make one final point.  It doesn't much matter what the actual percentage of the Republican Party is affiliated with the religious right.  Once that number got up above 30 percent some 30 years ago, they have had increasing and significant influence within the party.  So the more secular plutocrats and militarists within the party have to kowtow to their demands on LGBT issues, abortion and Israel as well as other Christian faith  issues such as the teaching of creationism in public schools.

    As many noted authors have said, the Republican Party is the first religious party within the United States.

    This is all I could come up with in Googling the Republicans.  If someone has more up-to-date or more accurate information, chime in.
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    In my previous post, I deliberately didn't get into what constitutes the "religious right."  That is an all inclusive generic term that at least for the United States largely means the "Christian right."  However, this description from Wikipedia is probably more approriate:

    "The terms Christian right and Religious right are often used interchangeably, although the terms are not synonymous. Religious right can refer to any religiously motivated conservative movement, whether specific to one religion or shared across religious lines. For example, conservative Christians, Muslim social conservatives, and Orthodox Jews cooperate in national and international projects through the World Congress of Families and United Nations NGO gatherings. Christian right on the other hand refers to only the Christian segment of the Religious right.

    "The term Christian right is used by people from a wide range of conservative political and religious viewpoints, for self identification and outside commentary. Some 15% of the electorate in the United States tell pollsters they align themselves with the Christian right, which serves as an important voting bloc within the U.S. Republican Party.

    "John C. Green of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life states that Jerry Falwell used the label 'Religious Right' to describe himself, until it developed negative connotations, such as of hard-edged politics and intolerance, which resulted in very few people to whom the term would apply using it to describe themselves any more. Gary Schneeberger, vice president of media and public relations for Focus on the Family, states that "[t]erms like 'Religious Right' have been traditionally used in a pejorative way to suggest extremism. The phrase 'socially conservative evangelicals' is not very exciting, but that's certainly the way to do it.""

    Somehow "socially conservative evangelicals" seems a bit more complicated. I have often used the term "Christian Fundamentalist" to define a narrower segment of the Christian right which believes in the inerrancy of the Bible.  I can apprecaite how I and others may have inappropriately stereotyped segments of the Christian community with labels such as this and and happy to be corrected.

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    Here's some words of wisdom from Schmidt, almost exactly 9 years ago:

    "I'll make one final point. It doesn't much matter what the actual percentage of the Republican Party is affiliated with the religious right. Once that number got up above 30 percent some 30 years ago, they have had increasing and significant influence within the party. So the more secular plutocrats and militarists within the party have to kowtow to their demands on LGBT issues, abortion and Israel as well as other Christian faith issues such as the teaching of creationism in public schools."

    If you fast forward 9 years , it's obvious that the problem has gotten much worst. An article in Right Wing Watch details how all those crazy religious people essentially took over the White House:

    https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/the-year-the-religious-right-moved-into-the-white-house/

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    Arizona -- Sheesh. You have just depressed me further. Certainly I have been aware of the Christian right's influence on Trump, but the Right Wing Watch list of meetings at the White House is just astounding. The irony is, Trump is not a person of faith (a phony) but he sure knows how to pander to the different segments of his base.

    Yes nine years ago we discussed the problem and it has only gotten worse. As long as Trump delivers on their demands they support him at the ballot box. It's a quid pro quo of sorts...scratch my back, I scratch yours.

    The Republican Party is in essence a theological party and in the decades ahead America, if trends continue, will end up like Iran of sorts. I keep saying that young people being less religiously inclined compared to their parents will not go along with all this BS. However, when we look at the folks behind the Trump podium at his rallies they are stacked with a lot of young people...or maybe they are just the props. Whatever, it seems to be working. I'm depressed.

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    Since we are on the topic of religion, I will share two recent Gallup surveys of religiosity in America. You can go to the links for more details, but my overall observation is that religion will continue to play a major part in US politics...forever. There will be ups and downs depending on which party holds office. However, the polls clearly show that religion is firmly rooted in the Republican party, and even for those conservatives less religiously inclined, they must defer to the dominance of the religious right in their party.

    Gallup, December 22, 2017: 2017 Update on Americans and Religion

    About three-quarters of Americans identify with a Christian faith. 37% are highly religious; 33% not religious at all.

    About half of Republicans are highly religious, compared with about a third of independents and Democrats.

    48% of those who are highly religious approve of Trump.

    Gallup, October 29, 2019: Millennials' Religiosity Amidst the Rise of the Nones

    The research shows that between about 20% and 25% of U.S. adults are now "nones". Younger adaults are more likely to be a "none" and that trend seems to be increasing. On the other hand as these "nones" get older they seem to find religion again, perhaps reverting to their parents religious views.

    Custom graphic. The percentage of people with no religious identity decreases with age.

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    Yes this country is very sick indeed; if you compare this to Western Europe then there it is just the opposite. But on this "island" they love to be backwards, because all the odd religions were kicked out of Europe and were welcomed here and bred like crazy. I guess it is like an decease it spreads like wild fire. Sorry people there are no invisible ghosts with "human" names floating around Mars. Neither "Arabic baby's" born in the middle east of all places, who are now already dead for 2 centuries are going to save your ass. Let alone the "human" installed Pope. All "books" written on this tiny planet were written by humans alone; the Martians have not yet learned to write Hebrew on an Martian sheepskin. Wake up America, you don't know what B.S. is; ask Nunes. Amen
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