Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Economy Trumps Religion

Faith had its moment in the spotlight during the presidential campaign: A pastor (Rick Warren) moderated an encounter between John McCain and Barack Obama; former preacher Mike Huckabee made a creditable run; Rev. Jeremiah Wright's "God Damn America" sermon sideswiped former protege Obama; John Hagee's remarks on Catholics and Jews exploded on McCain.

Indeed, there seemed to be such parity in piety between the two major parties that faith may have been cancelled out as a factor.

A late October poll showed that only one in 10 Americans regarded the country's moral and spiritual condition as their foremost electoral criterion. Obama captured 53% of the Catholic vote (up 13% over John Kerry's 2004 tally) despite claims by several bishops that voting Democratic was tantamount to sin.

Faith was simply not a primary concern by election day. By then, the mortgage and debt crises had very clearly pushed religion off the table.


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