Thursday, February 24, 2011

moral issues in Wisconsin

It's a fortuitous time for those nerds out there scanning the headlines for instances of religion in politics. (BTW, just read this morning in American Grace that there's more religion in politics than politics in religion. More on that later, maybe.) From the Department of the Obvious, we have abortion, the most religiously-charged political issue in the history of issues, with same-sex marriage coming a close second. I mention these two issues because according to Putnam and Campbell, authors of American Grace, they track most reliably with religious observance: Those people who identify themselves as "highly religious" oppose them more frequently than the rest of the population. (Specifically on abortion, the highly religious are five times more likely to oppose all or most abortions than the, uh, lowly religious.)

Other issues do not show such a dramatic difference. On immigration, for example, the religious share opinions with the irreligious. Even on issues of poverty & whether the government should confront inequality, the data show that it makes little to no difference whether or not you're a believer, even though 91% of respondents said they'd heard a sermon over the pulpit on hunger & poverty in the last year.

In God's Politics Jim Wallis argues that a Christian's spectrum of politics should cover more than just these two issues. It is fascinating, then, to see the outpouring of support for the Wisconsin unions from the religious establishment, as reported here by Religious Dispatches and here by Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel. Absent this list of Catholic, Episcopal, Jewish, and various mainline Protestant (Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians) supporters is an evangelical presence.

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