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As politicians talk more about faith, voters seem to want less
President Barack Obama at a White House Easter prayer breakfast in April.
April 27th, 2012
09:48 AM ET

As politicians talk more about faith, voters seem to want less

Editor's note: Listen to the CNN Radio broadcast about the debate: By Lisa Desjardins, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Is Washington a holy city? It might seem that way, with all the talk about religion and morality in the 2012 election.

But all that God talk may be rubbing voters the wrong way.

"It's getting ugly out there," said Tim King, an evangelical Christian who works for the progressive religious group Sojourners. "There are a lot of Christians who are using their faith as a political weapon, which it's never meant to be."

King, who calls himself "politically homeless," says that while both parties talk about faith and invoke Scripture, he and other young evangelicals he knows sense an undercurrent of political gamesmanship in all the religious talk.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

"You don't get to win the argument because you have more Bible verses," he told CNN Radio. "You need to make the case about why your policies are good for everyone."

King is part of what looks like a national shift. In March, the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life saw a first in its ten years of polling: the largest group of voters in its survey, 38%, said that politicians are talking about religion "too much" right now.

"In fact, we saw an all-time high number of people taking that view," said Greg Smith, one of the researchers who produced the Pew report.

The survey found that 30% of Americans think politicians talk "too little" about faith and that 25% said it's the "right amount."

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There is a political factor, with twice as many Democrats saying politicians talk too much about religion as Republicans. But both parties saw sharp increases in the number of voters who want to hear less about religion from politicians.

Religious talk played a big role in recent elections, with Barack Obama distancing himself form his longtime pastor in 2008 and George W. Bush benefitting from a surge in so-called values voters in 2004.

“I think morality is being talked about a lot more in 2012," said David Brody, chief political correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"Not necessarily religion, but now we've seen the budget cloaked in moral terms by Roman Catholic (Congressman) Paul Ryan and by Catholics who think he's wrong, on moral grounds," he said. "Immorality has been invoked a lot more in 2012."

Brody noted another possible factor, saying that many voters question the sincerity of how some candidates talk about faith.

"There are some (politicians) who are natural when they talk about faith," Brody said, "there are other politicians who may do it more for political purposes."

For now, it seems that the more politicians talk about religion, the more voters want them to stop such talk.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Politics

soundoff (507 Responses)
  1. Mateo

    This is very challenging cause it's April 12 arelady. Haha you are right better late than never, I wanna do this. I like your site by the way. And, your baby She is so adorable

    June 29, 2012 at 4:26 am |
  2. Ina

    Indeed a nice post and I really like rdeiang catering stuff on the web. You have beautifully explained the importance and updated news on the catering industry. Keep up the nice posting as I have subscribed to your blog.

    June 29, 2012 at 4:18 am |
  3. chuck

    Do a wiki search on Mitt Romney's great grandfather Parley P. Pratt. Find out why he was killed by a jealous husband. And he had 12 wives.

    April 30, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  4. bud

    this place suucks

    April 30, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  5. Stephen Buck

    I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Once a prodigal, my membership has taught me to trust and believe in Jesus Christ; and believe that love of others is one of the greatest, if not the greatest of all human endeavors. I guess it is human nature to be cautious about things that our new to us. But please let me assure you finding out about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will bring new surety about life and what Christ has given to those who know and love him. Find out more at mormon.org.

    April 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Nii

      Christians do not mind you worshipping Christ as God too. Oh wait you don't believe that! Mormons are Gnostics. They merge Judaism and paganism whereas Christianity is just another form of Judaism. Even Moslems are closer in doctrine to Judaeo-Christianity than Mormonism is.

      May 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  6. Prayer changes things

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    April 29, 2012 at 6:42 am |
    • Jesus

      "Prayer changes things"

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!*!.~

      April 30, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  7. Bill Fitzgerald

    WHOYAGONNACALL, How does my brain cause me to type these words? Oh you cant explain it? Then according to you it is a fairytale. Now take your rediculous thoery elsewhere.

    April 28, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  8. Prometheus

    the-crucible.weebly.com

    Be more.

    April 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  9. huh?

    But the Muslim faith is soooo much better....believe it Obama is Muslim

    April 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Izzat you again, Keef?

      April 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • momoya

      No, I'll not.

      April 28, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Trinka

      Stop being ridiculous and pounding that same old tired drum.

      April 30, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  10. chuck

    While trying to decide if I should vote for Mitt Romney, I've done some research into the Mormon church. I knew very little about it, just thought it was a quirky Christian faith. But having looked into the Mormon church, I can't vote for Mitt Romney. I don't believe Mormons are Christians. Some of their practices and beliefs are downright bizarre. So I can imagine the GOP doesn't want a whole lot of discussion about religion.

    April 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • baguioboy

      I'm not sure where you looked into LDS beliefs, but I think it's important to note that if you did not get your information from lds.org, mormon.org, or perhaps from a member of the LDS Church, it is likely to be inaccurate from the point of view of members of the LDS Church. I have been a member my whole life, and I've rarely felt that other sources do a very good job of representing my beliefs, just as I don't think the representation of Muslims by non-Muslims tends to be very accurate.

      April 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Paul Brown

      What Are the Core Beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

      The founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith, wrote, “The fundamental principles of our religion are … concerning Jesus Christ that He died was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”

      In addition to the above, Latter-day Saints believe unequivocally that:

      1. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the Son of our loving Heavenly Father.

      2. Christ’s Atonement allows mankind to be saved from their sins and return to live with God and their families forever.

      3. Christ’s original Church as described in the New Testament has been restored in modern times.

      April 29, 2012 at 4:53 am |
    • Paul Brown

      1. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the Son of our loving Heavenly Father

      Latter-day Saints believe God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save all mankind from their sins (see John 3:16). God is a loving Heavenly Father who knows His children individually, hears and answers their prayers, and feels compassion toward them. Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are two separate beings but along with the Holy Ghost (Spirit) are one in will, purpose and love.

      Latter-day Saints worship Jesus Christ as their Savior and Redeemer. He is central to the lives of Church members. They accept His grace and mercy; they seek to follow His example by being baptized (see Matthew 3:13-17), praying in His holy name (see Matthew 6:9-13), partaking of the sacrament (communion) (see Luke 22:19-20), doing good to others (see Acts 10:38) and bearing witness of Him through both word and deed (see James 2:26).

      April 29, 2012 at 4:54 am |
    • Paul Brown

      2. Christ’s Atonement allows mankind to be saved from their sins and return to live with God and their families forever.

      Latter-day Saints believe that God has a plan for His children to return to live with Him and become “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). For members of the Church, Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is central to God’s plan for our happiness. Although humans make mistakes and sin, Mormons view this mortal life as an opportunity to progress and learn. By following Christ’s teachings, embracing His mercy and accepting baptism and other sacraments, Mormons believe they are cleansed from sin through Christ’s grace and can return to live with God and their families forever.

      April 29, 2012 at 4:55 am |
    • Paul Brown

      3. Christ’s original Church as described in the New Testament has been restored in modern times.

      Members believe that Christ established His Church anciently on the “foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20; see also Ephesians 4:11-14) with “one faith, [and] one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). They believe this foundation of “one faith” was gradually undermined after the death of Christ’s apostles. As a result, the original foundation of authority to lead the Church was lost and needed to be restored (see Acts 3:21). Today, members preach that the Lord has indeed restored His Church with living apostles and prophets, starting with the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith.

      April 29, 2012 at 4:55 am |
    • Paul Brown

      Are Mormons Christian?

      Yes. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian church but is neither Catholic nor Protestant. Rather, it is a restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ as originally established by the Savior in the New Testament of the Bible. The Church does not embrace the creeds that developed in the third and fourth centuries that are now central to many other Christian churches.

      Latter-day Saints believe God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save all mankind from death and their individual sins. Jesus Christ is central to the lives of Church members. They seek to follow His example by being baptized (see Matthew 3:13-17), praying in His holy name (see Matthew 6:9-13), partaking of the sacrament (see Luke 22:19-20), doing good to others (see Acts 10:38) and bearing witness of Him through both word and deed (see James 2:26). The only way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ.

      April 29, 2012 at 4:56 am |
    • Timothy

      Are Mormons Christians? NO.

      Christians do not believe that they die and become elevated to the status of being a GOD.

      Christians worship our Lord and Savior, Christians don't believe in religious coups to become the ruling GOD over Jesus Christ.

      Ref: Doctrine and Covenants 132, Gospel Essentials Exaltation Chapter, Mormon Prophet speaches.

      Mormons are not Christians, BUT, if they renounce Mormonism, accept the true Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, repent of their sins, they can be welcomed into an Christian church.

      But as Mormons alone, NO, Mormons can not be Christian by their doctrines. Just having Christ's name on your cult, doesn't make it Christian.

      April 29, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Eolsen

      It is a waste of time to reason with trolls and bigots.

      April 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  11. Reality

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:

    One should be voting based on rational thinking. Believing in angels, satans, bodily resurrections, atonement, and heavens of all kinds is irrational.

    Apparently, BO and MR have been severely brainwashed in their theologically and historically flawed Christianity and they are too weak to escape its felonious grip.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    April 28, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Haime52

      Columbus was thought to be irrational. So too Gallileo and Copernicus. Those who believed in the atom also were thought to be irrational. Belief in the unseen and not yet proven is not always irrational, you see. Perhaps illogical, but even logic has its limits.

      April 28, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Who ya gonna call? DingbatBusters!

      And as haime is proving, some people have much bigger limits on logic than others.

      Shall I state the incredibly obvious? Unicorns and leprechauns and The Wild Sorority Girls Of Planet Playtex are in your "not yet proven" category. You are pretending that ultimately your superstition will be proven.

      Interesting that you chose Copernicus and Galileo, because it was the religious people who thought them "irrational" based on their religious ideological delusions.

      April 28, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • momoya

      @Haime52

      Maybe you are right; I don't know.. However, it is stupid to believe in a concept that doesn't have at least seem to have some basis in reality.. If belief in the atom was ever seen as "irrational" then the person who was eventually proven right must have had a better sense of the atom's qualities and function.. Indeed, many Americans think that evolution is irrational, yet it has been proved correct thousands and thousands of times..

      Science eventually proved those theories to be correct, but that doesn't mean that every crackpot theory is just as valid as any other because some of them were proved correct–that's stupid reasoning!!!

      April 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Reality

      What we do know: (from the fields of astrophysics, nuclear physics, geology and the history of religion)

      1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.

      2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.

      3. One wayward rock and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

      4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.

      5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

      6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 trillion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

      7. Super, dormant volcanoes off the coast of Africa and under Yellowstone Park could explode catalytically at any time ending life on Earth.

      Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 trillion years?

      April 29, 2012 at 7:50 am |
  12. Philip ASC

    The more Republicans talk about religion, the more hypocritical they show themselves to be!

    April 28, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • Haime52

      So very true! Many profess belief and talk about family values and then go to see their mistress or go home to read Playboy mag.

      April 28, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    April 28, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • Jesus

      You're a proven liar. Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!*!,

      April 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  14. False Dichotomy

    ""There are a lot of Christians who are using their faith as a political weapon, which it's never meant to be."

    These guys should read some anthropology sometime. A political weapon is exactly what religion is "meant to be." Just ask the Pharaohs, Popes, Crusaders, politicians, Klansmen, anti-abortionists, Imams, Texas Board of Education members, Spanish conquistadors, etc etc etc.

    April 28, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • Haime52

      Has been used as such, oh yes! Meant to be? That would take such devious planning at the outset as to be worthy only of a tempter. Some have done that, too, but only after religion already existed. One does not prove a whole lot or that all are a contruct for only that end.

      April 28, 2012 at 10:25 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.