Religion in Politics: Americans Consider Socialists Worse Than Atheists

Religion in Politics: Americans Consider Socialists Worse Than Atheists
  • Although many Americans cry “separation of church and state,” religious affiliation has a significant impact on elected officials.
  • In fact, it seems that many politicians will make religious claims about their faith purely to obtain votes.
  • In Congress, 88.2% claim Christianity while only 0.2% remain unaffiliated. Not attaching oneself to a religious affiliation negatively impacts the chances of election.
  • A recent Gallop poll demonstrated that Americans will not support a socialist or an atheist.

Studies show that religious faith and being elected to the highest political offices in the nation are intertwined, while American voters see only one thing that is worse than an atheist—a socialist.

The Changing Landscape of Religion and Politics

Although things are slowly changing, throughout political history candidates needed to tout their religion if they wanted to get elected.

Even today, a candidate who is an “atheist,” knows that is a word never to be spoken. Instead, the candidate simply says they are “non-religious.” This way, it gives the impression of faith, but not tied to any particular religion.

Are Politicians Saying They Are Religious For Votes?

It has long been speculated that many politicians make religious claims simply to appeal to voters. According to statistics by the Pew Research Center, what is most telling is the religiously unaffiliated. Among the American public, 23% say that they are unaffiliated.

However, in Congress, only 0.2% sign claim to be unaffiliated with religion. This only serves to prove the point that the religiously unaffiliated don’t get elected. In fact, the results showed there was only 1 unaffiliated person in Congress.

Christians in Congress are overrepresented in comparison to the general American public. Among the public, 71% of adults claim to be Christian.

In Congress, that number is 88.2%. Among the Jewish, 6.4% claim Judaism in Congress compared to 2% of the American public. Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus represent less than one percent in Congress and only 1% each among the American public.

Americans View Socialists Worse Than Atheists

A Gallup poll taken last May sought to determine what attributes candidates might possess that would decrease the willingness of voters to vote for them.

Here’s something you won’t find in most political polls. Ranking at the lowest end of the scale that Americans do not support is a socialist, while the second-to-the-lowest was significantly higher—an atheist.

In the results below, the lower the number, the less willing a voter would be to select that presidential candidate. The higher the number, the more willing they would be to vote for that candidate.

Attribute/Willingness Percentage

Black = 96%

Hispanic = 95%

Catholic = 95%

Female = 94%

Jewish = 93%

Evangelical Christian = 80%

Gay or lesbian = 76%

under 40 years of age = 71%

Muslim = 66%

Over 70 years of age = 63%

Atheist = 60%

Socialist = 47%

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