For people who've tuned into this year's presidential debates, it's clear the candidates aren't hesitant to talk religion. Apparently, that makes a lot of sense.
Most Americans (almost 70 percent) say they want a president with strong religious beliefs, and they are comfortable with the discussion of faith in the election campaign. In fact, 38 percent say there's "too little" discussion of religion, according to the latest Pew poll on religion and politics, released Sept. 6.
"It's an interesting election cycle in that we have this high level of discussion on faith and values in both political parties ... [and] 38 percent still want more," says John Green, senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in Washington.
The role religion will play in voters' political choices, however, remains far from clear. Paradoxically, the front-runners in both parties – Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton – are currently perceived as the least religious among the candidates.
Hot-button social issues of concern to religious activists are taking a back seat to Iraq and domestic issues, even among Evangelicals. Seventy-eight percent of Americans cite domestic issues (such as the economy, healthcare, and the environment) and 72 percent cite Iraq as very important in their decisions, while 38 percent cite social issues such as abortion and gay marriage.
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Posted September 12, 2007 at 3:10 pm
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