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Apr 11 2013

Half of Republicans Would Make Christianity Official Religion

Here’s a very disturbing survey result. Nearly one-third of Americans, according to a recent poll, would support making Christianity the official religion of their state or the entire country — and a far higher percentage of Republicans.

The new survey finds that 34 percent of adults would favor establishing Christianity as the official state religion in their own state, while 47 percent would oppose doing so. Thirty-two percent said that they would favor a constitutional amendment making Christianity the official religion of the United States, with 52 percent saying they were opposed…

Although a large percentage of Americans said they would favor establishing a state religion, only 11 percent said they thought the U.S. Constitution allowed states to do so. Fifty-eight percent said they didn’t think it was constitutional, and 31 percent said they were not sure…

Republicans were more likely than Democrats or independents to say that they would favor establishing Christianity as an official state religion, with 55 percent favoring it in their own state and 46 percent favoring a national constitutional amendment.

Well at least most of them recognize that the constitution doesn’t allow this, but 30% of Republicans favored passing a constitutional amendment to declare Christianity the official religion of the country. This is absolutely appalling but not the least bit surprising.

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  1. 1
    dugglebogey

    Did the survey as how many thought it already was?

  2. 2
    Randomfactor

    Only half? I’m surprised they’re THAT reasonable.

  3. 3
    lldayo

    Wow, only 58% thought it was unconstitutional. That’s a very sad number.

  4. 4
    hexidecima

    well, they’d make *their* version of Christianity an official religion. The survey doesn’t do what it should, which is underline just how fractioned “Christianity” really is. We have Christians vacillating between declaring themselves the majority of a “Christian Nation” and then declaring themselves a poor put upon minority.

  5. 5
    angrymudcrab

    Gotta throw in with Randomfactor, I’m surprised it is only half of them. One thing that always strikes me as odd about these people is how they seem to forget why we have freedom of religion. The main impetus in having freedom of religion was to avoid the sort of bloodshed that tore Europe apart during the wars of religions. The issue of those wars wasn’t between “good Christians” and us “evil Atheists”, but rather it was between the various sects of Christianity and which one would be the state religion. Some of the main beneficiaries of freedom of religion are the religions themselves. The second someone tries to establish a state religion, the question will be, which one? It will be Catholics vs Baptists vs Lutherans vs . You can’t handwave it by saying Christianity, because at best these sects think the others are wrong but Christian, and at worst they think they are not even Christian.

  6. 6
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    I always think proposing “Christianity” as an official religion is the wrong way to do it.

    Would you, Mr. Republican Senator, support making “Methodist” the official religion of the United States? No? How strange. What about “Baptist”? No? How about “Catholic”? Go through the list.

  7. 7
    bmiller

    On the other hand…maybe the best way to ensure the long term slide into passivity is to make Christianity an official church? That’s certainly what happened in the Old World?

    Although maybe it is a mistake to assume American religiosity would follow the European pattern.

  8. 8
    tbp1

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but there actually is no such thing as Christianity. There are thousands and thousands of soi-disant Christian groups. They use different versions of their holy book, disagree on how much of said book is literal and how much is metaphorical or allegorical, and have theologies that are utterly incompatible with each other.

    Just to name a few unresolved issues:

    Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Mormon or something else?
    Trinitarian or not?
    Arminian or Calvinist?
    Once saved, always saved, or not?
    Modern medicine OK (including blood transfusions) or not OK?
    Women clergy or not?
    Consuming alcohol OK or not?
    Remarriage after divorce OK or not? For that matter, divorce OK or not?
    Sprinkle or dunk?
    Infant baptism or adult baptism?
    Do those who never heard the Gospel automatically go to Hell or not?
    Instrumental music in church or not?
    World a few thousand years old, or billions of years old?

    And this is just off the top of my head.

    Christians have been saying other Christians aren’t really Christians every since there have been Christians. Throughout history, including the present day, they have killed each other over their definitions of Christianity. If Michener is to be believed (and I tend to believe him, as one thing he really knew how to do was research a subject), early Christians would slaughter each other over the right way to make the sign of the cross (I think that was in The Source).

    So what in the world makes people think that the official Christianity will be one they agree with?

  9. 9
    Neil Rickert

    I sometimes think of liberals (not to be confused with Democrats) as the intellectual heirs of the revolutionaries, and of conservatives (who have recently become identical with Republicans) as the intellectual heirs of the royalists. This survey is consistent with that picture.

  10. 10
    tommykey

    When offering their defense of the Article VI language in the Constitution forbidding a religious test, proponents of the article argued that if you require a test that an office holder be Christian, what version of Christianity will you require? Their main argument was that a religious test would only serve to bar talented people from office and that any person without moral scruples would have no problem lying about their religious beliefs in order to gain acceptance.

  11. 11
    raven

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but there actually is no such thing as Christianity.

    There are 42,000 different sects with more being invented every year.

    Throughout history, including the present day, they have killed each other over their definitions of Christianity.

    That is one reason why the founding fathers created separation of church and state.

    The Reformation wars were still fresh in people’s memories. Those wars killed tens of millions. Xians still hated, discriminated, and killed each other any way they could. The Puritans not only killed alleged witches, they killed some heretics, Quakers and Unitarians. Baptists were put in jail, run out of town, and subject to mob violence. The Protestants didn’t trust the Pope lovers.

  12. 12
    Doug Little

    Wow, only 58% thought it was unconstitutional. That’s a very sad number.

    This number probably tracks pretty well with people that have actually read the Constitution and understand it.

  13. 13
    d.c.wilson

    tb1: According to Bill-O the Clown, Christianity isn’t a religion but a philosophy.

    Of course, every republican who answered yes meant the One True Chrisitanity (theirs) and not another of those other heretical/papist/liberal/rebellious sects. It would be almost worth it to let them have one state as an experiment to see how fast they turn the knives against each.

  14. 14
    macallan

    Hmm, many of Europe’s least religious countries have state churches. Maybe they’re on to something.

  15. 15
    tacitus

    Although maybe it is a mistake to assume American religiosity would follow the European pattern.

    True, but there signs that the are similarities. The way there has been an increasingly steep falling away of the young from organized religion (a full third of under-25 year olds are now unaffiliated or “nones”) is striking reminiscent of what’s been happening in most of northern Europe back in the 80s, and more recently in places like Spain and Ireland.

    Established protestant churches have proven the least resistant to the demise of religious observance, with the more deeply engrained Catholic establishments being harder to shift. The non-established US religious experience has proved to be a much tougher nut to crack, but the cracks are now showing, and I doubt there is much they can do to halt the generational shift now that it’s finally underway..

    Many parents of my generation (whose kids are now in their teens), even if they aren’t very religious, still feel obligated to expose their kids to their family religious tradition, taking them to church, Sunday school, vacation Bible school, etc. I would say that a majority of my American friends are in that camp.

    But I don’t expect that tradition to continue into the next generation. As many as 50% of the next generation of parents will be “nones”, and while only a minority will be completely non-religious, most of them will lack the see the need to drag their children off to church every weekend, especially since there are so many more alternatives available to them these days.

    This leads me to wonder if this wholesale transition from one type of religious belief to another (i.e. from structured practiced religion to a vague, nominal belief system) has any precedent in history. There have been plenty of top-down changes in a society’s religious beliefs — imposed and enforced by conquest, or by fiat, but has there ever been a successful wholesale bottom-up change like the one we’re seeing all across the Western world today? If not, then the cause of the religious right is truly lost, or soon will be.

  16. 16
    steve oberski

    I would suggest that those in favour of a US state religion spend some time in a Muslim theocracy, where there is a state religion, and try practising their religion there.

    That will have them pining for the good old days when church and state and state were at least nominally separate.

  17. 17
    cottonnero

    Tacitus:

    Catholics are losing people like crazy, it’s just that their numbers are papered over by immigration from countries that still mean it when they say they’re Catholics. Otherwise they’d be just like the mainline Protestants.

    The precedent for the transition is in Europe and Quebec, even if it is pretty recent, historically (the Quiet Revolution in Quebec was in the sixties).

  18. 18
    raven

    Catholics are losing people like crazy, it’s just that their numbers are papered over by immigration from countries that still mean it when they say they’re Catholics. Otherwise they’d be just like the mainline Protestants.

    They’ve lost 22 million people, 1/3 of their US members.

    The Catholic membership statistics are hopelessly cooked. They just lie a lot. They just count baptisms. A lot of those join other religions or drop out totally. They are still on the Catholic books as Catholics.

  19. 19
    billdaniels

    I vote for Swedenborgianism. Only because it’s fun to say.

  20. 20
    busterggi

    Let the mutually exterminating inquisitions begin!

    Christians have always hated other versions of Christians more than any other group including atheists.

  21. 21
    blf

    Rotate Teh Official Sect yearly. This year it’s Baptists, next year Shia Muslims, next Masorti Jews, then some Hindu sect, the following year the Raping Children Cult, and on. To determine who is and isn’t a suitable sect, use rules like (1) Must be tax-exempt; (2) High Priest/Priestess wins a cage fight with a starving tiger; and (3) Their Great Sky Faeries show up, visible to all, at the cage fight.

  22. 22
    democommie

    blf:

    But that condition (3); why, that would make it imposs…oh, wait, I see what you did there. Well, blayed, citizen.

  23. 23
    Sastra

    I don’t know but I suspect a good number of the people who said they were in favor of making Christianity the official religion don’t really care about distinctions between the sects and only worry about “extremists.” Not particularly devout themselves, they see Christianity as the “everybody be nice” religion and think it just represents common moral values and respect for how Jesus died on the cross to save everyone — even people in other religions (once they convert.) So it’s ecumenical. Can’t get any friendlier than that, can you? Plus it’s just common sense to promote the recognition that we all have a duty to God and need to behave ourselves. Practically everyone is Christian anyway. It’s a reminder.

    The churches themselves may have conflicting doctrine, but from what I’ve seen an awful lot of people in the pew seem willing to change their church AND their religion if they think some other local group is “nicer” or “better” (or even “closer”) and thus more representative of what Jesus was really about. They assent to a list of beliefs because this is what they must now believe to be what they now are. Living in a secular culture, a fair amount of Christians have become so humanized that creed doesn’t matter to them and they think it won’t matter to most Christians (or even to people in other religions.) Only “extremists” and atheists care about petty details.

    I wonder if a survey could parse this group out from the folks who are more hardline.

  24. 24
    howardhershey

    Let’s look on the bright side. At least these lovers of [some, a few] parts of the Constitution recognize that that document needs [a bit, massive amount] or re-writing to get back to what the mythical Founders wanted — the Articles of Confederation.

  25. 25
    greg1466

    I find it terrifying that almost half of the population is somewhere between unsure and completely clueless as to the fundamental principles of the Constitution.

  1. 26
    Obama Supporters Sign Petition to Repeal the Bill of Rights - Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Conservatives, Liberals, Third Parties, Left-Wing, Right-Wing, Congress, President - City-Data Forum

    [...] Start with these people: Half of Republicans Would Make Christianity Official Religion » Dispatches from the Culture War… [...]

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