Evangelical religious beliefs influence US politics

For a developed country, the U.S. is extraordinarily high on religion.

The influence of old religious beliefs drives modern-day US politics as Evangelicals, the largest group of Christians in the US, have led a campaign to align the US more closely with Israel.

The Gallup Poll found that more Americans say that religion is very important in their daily lives compared to Swedes, Danes, and Japanese.

Half (49%) of all adults across 23 countries agree that religion does more harm than good in the world; the other half (51%) disagree, according to the survey conducted by Ipsos among 17,401 adults aged under 65 interviewed online. However, views vary greatly from one country to the next and in the United States, only 39% agree and 61% disagree.

About half of Republicans are highly religious, compared with about a third of independents and Democrats. The relationship between religiosity and Trump approval is primarily found among non-Hispanic white Americans; nonwhites give Trump very low job approval ratings regardless of their religiosity.

Highly religious Americans give President Donald Trump higher job approval ratings than those who are not religious — and given the relationship between religiosity and partisanship in politics, that pattern may be expected but it contradicts a factual assessment of the narcissistic and self-indulgent leader.

Trump attends church on occasion, although his lack of conventional religiousness is evident in his hedonistic lifestyle.

Trump’s personal lifestyle and actions caused some religious leaders to emphatically come out against his candidacy last year — including Albert Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who argued that “character in leadership” still matters.

Trump has followed up relatively little on his campaign relationship with evangelicals and seems to have remained largely immune from religious influence.

He may attend the Episcopal church near his estate in Palm Beach or occasionally go to an evangelical church.

“I don’t think faith is a major part of his life. He’s a nominal, mainline Protestant Christian,” says David L. Holmes, professor emeritus of religious studies at Virginia’s College of William and Mary and author of two books on the faiths of presidents

Accused of being unpatriotic and a Catholic Communist, John F. Kennedy openly addressed his Catholicism in a speech in 1960 to an audience of Protestant ministers, assuring them that he believed “in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.”

Opposition to the secularism of the ’60s, to abortion, and to measures that established a clearer separation between church and state, such as the banning of school-sponsored prayer, galvanized the Religious Right.

Evangelicals would boost the campaigns of Republicans like Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush. Now, “the role of evangelical Protestants is so strong,” that Bruce J. Schulman, the William E. Huntington Professor of History at Boston University, says it shapes “the entire presidential selection process.”



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