According to a Pew Research Center study:
Fewer than two-thirds of Democrats and Democratic-leaning adults now identify with any branch of Christianity, down 11 percentage points since 2007. Meanwhile, nearly three-in-ten Democrats say they have no religion, up 9 points in recent years. Religious “nones” now constitute the single largest religious category in the Democratic coalition. As recently as 2007, mainline Protestants, evangelical Protestants and Catholics were each about as numerous as – or more numerous than – the religiously unaffiliated among Democrats and Democratic-leaning adults.
The numbers tell the story:
As you can see, it is not that Democrats are not religious, whatever the Religious Right might claim, as only a very small percentage is actually atheist or agnostic. It is simply that more and more of them are unaffiliated with any religious denomination.
This also does not make them less spiritual. In fact, more Americans now say “they regularly feel a deep sense of ‘spiritual peace and well-being,'” than did those in 2007. Not going to church does not render a person un-spiritual any more than going to church makes you a better person.
It is no surprise as well that evangelical protestants remain the largest religious group in the Republican Party:
Though “nearly four-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning adults who identify with evangelical Protestant denominations,” to hear the Religious Right prattle on, you would think it would be closer to 9 in 10. Evangelicals have never been as numerous as the Religious Right wants you to believe. They are not and have never been representative of normative Christianity in this country.
The numbers also show diminishing support for the GOP’s culture war agenda, at least with regards Marriage Equality, even among its own base, with Pew explaining that,
“[M]ore than a third of evangelical Protestants now say homosexuality should be accepted by American society, up 10 points since 2007. And acceptance of homosexuality has jumped by 12 points among Mormons.”
There has, on the other hand, been “little change in Americans’ attitudes about abortion,” says Pew.
The percentage of both parties comprised of Christians has, however, dropped since 2007, by 11% in the Democratic Party and by 5% in the Republican Party, and even the GOP has experienced a 4% increased in the unaffiliated in that seven year period.
None of this will be welcome news to the GOP. They are losing the battle of demographics and nothing they do or say is going to change the outcome. America is not the country it was in the 1950s when the battle lines were drawn between the godless and white Christians.
Reality has always been far messier than that simple dichotomy would argue and the numbers don’t lie. It’s just as well that there is no country for Republicans to take back, because just as it never existed, it is never going to exist. The most tragic aspect of all this, for Republicans, is that they are hastening the process by hating on science and women and gays and others.
Yes, America. As Shakespeare put it, the worm has turned.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.