America benefits from religious freedom, and the competition generated between various beliefs, including secularism. Today, however, our nation isn’t in a sweet spot. The political divisions between Republicans and Democrats parallel the divide between those who attend church regularly and those who live outside the church. The recent Des Moines Register Iowa Democratic presidential debate underscored this point. On the Fox television screen, pollster Frank Luntz posted a real-time graph that tracked his Democratic focus group’s response to the debate as it unfolded. Viewers watching the graph could see focus group reaction to each speaker’s words, just as the candidates’ answers left their mouths.
When Joe Biden [picture] mentioned attending church and quoted words from a hymn he sang on Sunday (here at 2:37 of Part 4), the focus group’s negatives plunged through the floor. Judged by the group’s response to Biden, Democrats are uncomfortable with politicians who bring their personal faith into political dialogue. And probably Republicans react the opposite way; many are drawn to candidates who discuss their personal faith.
Because religious/cultural differences parallel our nation’s political divide, it will be harder to unite America in 2008.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!