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Majority of Americans confused about President’s religion?

Why do conservatives lie endlessly, engage in elaborate, easily debunked fantasies and wild conspiracies? Why do they cheat, simplify, spin, and tell bald-faced whoppers so ridiculous it’s hard not to laugh them off the stage? A new Pew Poll suggests one reason is because it works:

WaPo– Make no mistake: Religion matters in American life and American politics. But at least for now, it’s turning off mostly voters that were already predisposed against Romney and Obama.

More than one-third of Republicans say they have a problem with Obama’s religion, compared to just 7 percent of Democrats. On the other side, 16 percent of Democrats have a problem with Romney’s Mormon religion, compared to just 10 percent of Republicans.

In other words, only about one out of 10 likely Romney and Obama supporters have some reservations about their candidate’s religion.

As an atheist I expect to have a lousy choice between two religizing Pastors in Chief every four years. It’s such a fixture in US politics that it’s hardly noticed, except when of them says or does something particularly bizarre. Given the crazy demands of the small block of loudmouth voters caught in the grip of religious delusion it takes quite a screw up in that respect to get our attention.

But the millions of dollars behind the ‘othering’ of Obama and the streamlining of Romney’s otherwise heretical beliefs are having some effect. I just wonder how effective that campaign would be if Obama had a traditional poll tested American name and Mittens signed his offshore checks with the Mormon monicker Moroni …

Update: reader coment — There’s a missed point here. Those annoyed with Romney’s religion are annoyed with his actual religion, magic underwear and all. Those annoyed with Obama’s religion are annoyed with his rumored, slimed, propagandized religion.

Comments

  1. Woof says

    There’s a missed point here:

    Those annoyed with Romney’s religion are annoyed with his actual religion, magic underwear and all.

    Those annoyed with Obama’s religion are annoyed with his rumored, slimed, propagandized religion.

  2. left0ver1under says

    In the bad old days when the Ku Klux Klowns were popular, they spread myths like “they all want to rape white women!” and other stupidity. KKK members believed it was true because they wanted to believe it was true, to justify and rationalize their bigotry.

    The same is going on now. The media and clowns spread the fiction, and the ignorant are willing to swallow lies voluntarily. It’s hard to educate someone who wants fictions to be true.

  3. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    Obama is a mainstream protestant.

    No. Obama is a member of a black church. Yeah, sure it doesn’t make a difference.

    The one thing that is good about that poll is that among Independents, slightly more are disturbed about Romney’s than Obama’s religion.

  4. says

    But the millions of dollars behind the ‘othering’ of Obama and the streamlining of Romney’s otherwise heretical beliefs are having some effect. I just wonder how effective that campaign would be if Obama had a traditional poll tested American name …

    The othering would work mostly the same since it’s mostly aimed at not-white; the muslim-sounding name is just a bonus, but that got so worked over in 2008 it doesn’t have much sting left, at least within any undecideds.

    Only some of the Repugs are going to push the religion thing because they know there is lots of potential for blowback. Just saw (but didn’t record url) an article claiming mormonism is equally non-xtian as islam. If a full-on mud-slinging starts mittens might be the net loser since he really is a mormon and BO is only muslim through lies.

    But the “black” church will come back up in the endgame, really dirty part when the Ricketts’ money comes to play. They believe reverend Wright is even scarier than islam, esp. since they can’t play the Osama card any more since they don’t want to remind folks Obama killed him.

    So, overall, the smear campaign has a tricky road ahead and we’ll probably see some creative threading the gap to blame BO for something that really applies equally (or often, more) to mittens.

  5. Ben P says

    @ Woof: Yes. That needed saying. Obama is a mainstream protestant.

    No. Obama is a member of a black church. Yeah, sure it doesn’t make a difference.

    I actually suspect that Obama is rather areligious* himself and plays up his religion because it’s expected of him.

    Look at Clinton. I’m from Arkansas and was here when Clinton was governor. Upon coming to little rock as Attorney General and then Governor, Clinton promptly joined Immanuel Baptist Church, the largest and wealthiest white baptist church in the city, also the church attended by a disproportionate number of prominent political and commercial figures. Clinton was not an every Sunday attender, but certainly attended often enough to see and be seen attending church and to glad hand while he was there.

    When Clinton was running for president and was president, he too did all the prayer breakfasts and moments of silence and the speeches at religious events.

    I rather strongly suspect this all has much more to do with the political benefits of appearing to be a religious person than an actual strongly held personal religious belief.

    It’s really not much different than Obama. Wright’s church was a growing and vibrant community when Obama was starting his political career. Being a member of the church would have been very advantageous for a number of reasons.

    (NB I’m using areligious as something distinctly different from Atheist. That is, I’m using it to mean that, whatever they may actually believe, religion is not a driving or even substantial force in their life)

  6. rork says

    Maybe other factors at work too.
    1) How many folks know Romney is Mormon? (Pew says about 60%, yesterday. 49% said Obama was Christian, how many of the other 51% are lying we don’t know.).
    2) How many folks know much about what being a Mormon means?

  7. busterggi says

    I wonder – do they really believe Obama is a Muslim or are they just saying they do because somewhere in the dim back corners of their minds they think it hides their racism?

  8. says

    I just wonder how effective that campaign would be if Obama had a traditional poll tested American name and Mittens signed his offshore checks with the Mormon monicker Moroni …

    I’m not sure that would make a lot of difference.

    Romney would still be white, and Obama wouldn’t

    </cynicism>

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