Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
“It’s demography, stupid!” is the new mantra for analyzing the 2012 election, in which African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos cast their votes in overwhelming numbers for President Obama.
But religious diversity was another key theme. How so? Let me count the ways.
1. The first Hindu in the House
Thanks to Hawaii’s 2d congressional district, a Hindu has been elected for the first time to the House of Representatives. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat who was born in American Samoa, served in the Hawaii National Guard and was deployed to Baghdad and Kuwait, crushed Republican Kawaki Crowley with over three-quarters of the votes.
Opinion: Moving on from elections as American rite
Gabbard is a Vaishnava Hindu, which means she worships Vishnu. The key scripture in her Hindu tradition is the Bhagavad Gita, a meditation on duty in the face of war.
2. The first Buddhist in the Senate
Democrat Mazie Hirono, who vacated the House seat in Hawaii that Gabbard just won, handily defeated Republican Linda Lingle to become the first Buddhist (and the first Asian-American woman) elected to the U.S. Senate. Hirono, who describes herself as a non-practicing Buddhist, and Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) became the first Buddhists in the U.S. House when they were sworn in in 2007.
3. Out with one atheist, in with another
Pete Stark, who has served California’s 13th congressional district for 40 years, came out as an atheist in 2007 and since that time has been a standardbearer in Washington for secular Americans. He lost on Tuesday to Democrat Eric Swalwell, who criticized him during the campaign for voting against a bill that reaffirmed “In God We Trust” as our national motto.
Election results raise questions about Christian right’s power
In a very tight race in Arizona, however, Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, appears poised to win by some 2000 votes over Republican Vernon Parker. If that result holds up, Sinema would become the first member of Congress to identify herself as bisexual. Sinema, who was raised a Mormon, also describes herself as a nontheist. It looks like she will replace Stark as the only openly atheist in Congress.
4. A successful (and relatively uneventful) "Mormon moment"
As Mitt Romney started to home in on the Republican presidential nomination, many Mormons started to ask whether his run would be good for the LDS Church. The verdict right now seems to be yes.
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Although some voters on both the secular left and the Religious Right doubtless opposed his candidacy because of his faith, Romney’s Mormonism turned out to be far less of an issue than many suspected. In the end, 79 percent of white evangelicals (many of whom might have denounced Mormonism as a “cult” in prior years) cast their lot with Romney — the same portion that voted for George W. Bush in 2004.
5. Evangelicals draw the line
Although it often seems to my friends in Boston and San Francisco that white evangelicals are a majority in U.S. politics, they, too, are a minority, accounting for 24% of the electorate. And though they voted overwhelmingly for Romney, they would not go as far as some on the right wanted to take them.
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
Only a quarter of white evangelicals believe that abortion should always be illegal, and opposition of Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana to abortion even in cases of rape seem to have cut into their white evangelical base. According to Robert P. Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute, 57 % of white evangelicals supported Akin (20 points behind Romney’s 77 percent support there) while 69% of this group supported Mourdock (11 points behind Romney’s 80 percent).
6. Jewish support for Obama drops
Of all the religious groups tracked by the Pew Forum, the Jewish vote showed the biggest change between 2008 and 2012. Whereas 78 percent of U.S. Jews supported Obama in 2008, that figure fell to just 69 percent in 2012. Tensions between the president and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over over settlements in Israel and Iran's nuclear threat likely account for at least some of that shift.
7. “Nones” on the Obama Bus
According to the Pew Forum, religiously unaffiliated voters — “nones” in poll-speak — also went strongly for Obama, but their support was more tepid this year, down from 75% in 2008 to 70% in 2012. The longstanding preference of religiously unaffiliated voters for the Democrats may be moderating as the Democratic Party continues to walk away from its historical aversion to mixing church and state.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.
Every 'generation' from the beginning of time onwards has built a church and in the building of God's church the body of a solitary man is to be found.
1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building
It's not supposed to be about religion. Knowing God is about a relationship, and when one truly experiences the presence of God, they won't be able to deny it. However, most of what is shown to us is not that, it is merely religion, tradition and ritual. Try reading about the Christian mystics and their writings, yes, they had some rituals they enjoyed (but so do Buddhists and the like as well in our desire for peace, joy, etc. in life), yet to them it was about meeting with the God of love in deep relationship and communion, not religious rituals. It's not about religion, but about relationship with God. Religion can change nothing and does not give life, but God and His presence give life and can change things within us (emotionally, physically, etc.) - if we so choose to let Him. He doesn't force us to do anything. It's our free will choice, but if you ever truly experience His presence (note: I do not mean religion but connectedness to God in relationship), you will see clearly.
Saying you have to believe something before you will have evidence is a recipe for delusion.
I know god! I know he is imaginary.
Amanda et al,
Every 'generation' from the beginning onwards has built a church and in the building of God's church the body of a solitary man is to be found.
1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.
I think I skeeted my bloody co.ck spunk in your face after I pulled my meat out of your moms blown out butt hole. True story Dreamer, your mom is in hell with my monster dong, which is covers in warts...ribbed for her pleasure.
@Blessed: "Saying you have to believe something before you will have evidence is a recipe for delusion."
Actually, I didn't say you have to believe something before you will have evidence. (Maybe you meant that for someone else though?) Regardless, I want to say that you don't have to believe before you have the evidence necessarily: If you hear the truth about God and Jesus Christ, and something tangible actually happens in you or your soul, this serves as evidence, and as such you didn't have to believe before you that evidence actually came. Of course, I know some folks don't see that as evidence, but when it happens to someone personally, they know it, and then they believe. Most likely though, I know that this only makes sense if someone has actually experienced personally what is described above (and also then even further evidence will come forth in and around them in time).
For example, say someone has a leg that was broken just days before and a Christian individual comes up and asks to pray for them. They say, "Be healed in the name of Jesus Christ" or something similar, and the person's leg is miraculously healed (no longer broken, etc.), then the person whose leg was broken removes their cast and they are able to walk as if their leg was never broken. That person will believe because who can refute that sort of proof? Of course, at times God only speaks to the individual in quieter ways as well, but signs and wonders are happening in the world, just not so much here in America, which is sad, but this will change soon enough. A lot of the so-called Christian Church is deep in religious tradition, and not in relationship with God being demonstrated with the love and the power of His Spirit in the miraculous and in helping others without judging them.
Your fvcking delusional Amanda.
"If you hear the truth about God and Jesus Christ, and something tangible actually happens in you or your soul, this serves as evidence"
Evidence of what though? I have had many experiences that seemed mystical that had nothing to do with religion or god. There is no evidence of a 'soul'. If god wants me to believe, he knows exactly what it will take. If he gives personal proof to some and withholds it from others and then judges people based on belief, he is immoral. Which leads to my response to your next point.
When has there ever been undeniable evidence of prayer healing a broken leg? There is a lot of evidence of faith healers claiming to heal people who can't walk that were exposed as frauds, but none who have ever been able to scientically prove it. If faith healers can actually heal why don't they roam the halls of hospitals healing all the sick children? They would be able to show evidence of their god and get uncounted converts as well and helping all those sick children. Why doesn't god heal amputees Amanda? That would be the ultimate proof right? .
Great new book with an atheist examining a Christian conversion: http://youtu.be/wfU0f2AbLmQ
It may be a "good book," but I'm much more interested in the argument it puts forth. If it has no new argument, but rather just a different perspective on ones already known, then it won't make much difference. The god arguments are either emotional, or only useful for the subject himself who claims personal "revelation" which does not do the logical, critical thinker any good.
Evangelicals hopped into bed with Mormons and fucked them hard. Come morning it was "Why oh why God would I have ever done such a thing?" while looking down on the snoring doughy white things with their smeared lipstick. No amount of bathing will ever put that behind them.
Very funny image.
Mexicans eat too many tacos.
Prayer changes things .
Like for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan on Tuesday?
"Praying kneads no dough." (Old Russian proverb)
See prayer work at prolapsed.net
"Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
"Salvatore" degenerates to:
"Douglas" degenerates to:
"truth be told" degenerates to:
"Thinker23" degenerates to:
"Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
"another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
"Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
"tina" degenerates to:
"captain america" degenerates to:
"Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
"Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
"just sayin" degenerates to:
"ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
"Kindness" degenerates to:
"Chad" degenerates to
"Bob" degenerates to
"nope" degenerates to:
"2357" degenerates to:
"WOW" degenerates to:
"fred" degenerates to:
"!" degenerates to:
"pervert alert" is the degenerate.
This troll is not a christian.
Prayer does 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`!
Evangelicals seem to be under the impression that the only Christians in America are white and Republican. Tunnel vision.
80% of USA is Christian.. 98% of Iran is Muslim.. 80% of India is Hindu.. 95% of Thailand is Buddhist..
What does this tell us? ...it tells us that it's not really about making a logical, informed decision, for the majority of religious people. They believe what they believe for one reason: because of where they are from. Most of you Christians who argue your religion is correct, if you were born in Iran, you'd be saying that Islam is the correct religion.
I WANT ELECTION RESULTs be announced via a puffs of smoke through the church's chimney !!!
It is worth noting that ONLY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA the "Individual" comes before the "Government!" Everywhere else in the world, it is the other way around!
That is "Priceless!"
You mean the corp ( short for corporation ) should come first ?
Sorry, Vic, that was already an invention of the ancient Roman Republic, at the same time that they invented the concept of citizenship. The Romans were the first society in which the citizen couls sue the government.
Jesus Christ is the founder of "Freedom" and the "Individual" comes first! He freed us from the bondage of the "Law of Sin and Condemnation" and "Death!" That's why every "Individual Believer" has a direct relationship with Him as He is our only mediator to God the Father and not through anyone! That's the "Love of God" for every individual! That's why He died for our sins! "Salvation" is an "Unmerited Favor," a "Free Gift" for "Freedom" & "Eternal Life!"
Christianity in its "Reformed Way" is the "Belief System" that presented the world with "Freedom, Liberty & Tolerance!" That took place when Martin Luther "Reformed" the "Christian Church" back in the 16th century!
The United States of America was "Originally Founded" on the "Christian Protestant Faith!"
Vic, let me guess ... you've never traveled outside of the USA, have you?
Vic, you're obviously a pilgrim in search of truth but I have to point out to you that you're blundering around in the wilderness. It is true that Martin Luther tried to reform religion to its rightful roots but he was far from a democrat and promoted some horrific actions against humans.
On my way to work everyday, I pass by a Planned Parenthood clinic. For the last 10 years, there has been 10 people standing out in front of it waving signs. They also bother the women going inside. Yesterday, I drove by and there was no one there. I was so shocked I went back and drove by again. They really were gone. Maybe this country really is ready to step into the 21st century.
They were all home praying for the country, don't you see ?
Great thing about this country is no matter how looney or stupid your personal views are about religion(or lack thereof)we all have a right to be as looney or stupid as we wish.This blog proves it,with each and every reply on any topic the contributor care to offer.
What we don't have is the right to impose that religion on others: displays of biblical text on public buildings and at school sports; restricting education to what you believe (that the bible is literally true) in the face of indisputable evidence to the contrary.
Clearly, a majority of voters reject the static and stagnant "morals and values" of "Mormonism" and/or "Christianity".
Most voters would rather respect the rights of women to decide what to do with their bodies than to criminalize them.
Most voters chose to offer marriage equality over the bigotry of the radical right's war on gays.
And, most voters want to see the wealthiest pay their fare share for a change, and Romneycare fully enacted.
This election wasn't just a landslide defeat, it was also a complete repudiation of nearly every issue that was championed by Republicans on behalf of the religious right, and it's time for them to realize that their attempts to politically impose their primitive and barbaric religious beliefs upon the majority of Americans will not go unchallenged.
Might want to check the popular vote before declaring a "landside" victory.
And leaving religion out of the equation:
The reality of se-x, abortion, contraception and STD/HIV control: – from an agnostic guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-
Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...
The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:
The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill (8.7% actual failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% actual failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.
Added information before making your next move:
from the CDC-2006
"Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."
Consumer Reports, January, 2012
"Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-
Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.
"Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)
Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.
The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":
– (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
– (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)
One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)
Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).
Reality. Considering how poor the economy is and how sure Fox News was of a GOP presidential victory it was pretty resounding. Also the GOP thought they would win back the Senate but in fact the backlash against the teabaggers ruled that out.
I think the bottom line is the GOP need to learn that if they want government out of our lives they shouldn't make exceptions for their religious dogma.
It was not a repudiation of the Christian agenda. What happened was that Obama cast the election in terms of class warfare. Also, Obama came across as a more likable candidate for whatever reason. Contrary to what you might think, this election wasn't about religious issues nor was it about economic issues as was predicted. It was largely just a popularity contest.
@Evangelical – Keep telling yourself whatever you need to get you through the night. This was most definitely a repudiation of the "extreme" rights agenda of trying to force everyone in America regardless of religion to adopt their religious based moral viewpoints. Thankfully not only did we reaffirm that we do not want those extreme ideas we let each other know we are alone and in fact are the majority and i'm sorry to say this, but we will never let you forget it again.
correction: we let each other know we are NOT alone :)
@eva: stay delusional, friend. We wouldn't want you any other way.
As noted many times before the election:
Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:
Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Mitt Romney, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?
The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.
2008 Presidential popular vote results:
69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.
And the irony:
And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)
The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.
i.e. IF THE PILL AND MALE CONDOMS WERE USED PROPERLY, ABORTION WOULD NOT BE AN ISSUE AND OBAMA WOULD NOT BE PRESIDENT.
Tis why BO and Axelrod ran pro-choice/abortion ads 24/7 two weeks before the election.
Again, "prof" P misses the real reason for BO's win as diversity continues to shrink because of the continued increase in the Immoral Majority who have members from all religions, non-religious and races and represent the largest voting bloc in the USA.
Know religion, no peace.
Prayer changes things .
Prayer certainly didn't help Mitt Romney, or Paul Ryan win, or Sarah Palin 4 years ago.
So if you were choking on something would you rather I perform the Heimlich maneuver or get down on my knees and pray for you instead?
I’ll take science as the means and methods to explain the how and the why of life to my kids and spare them the horror of man's interpretations of "God". How many more have to die over that piece of useless trivia?
Unlike religion, science demands to be challenged, tested and challenged again. It welcomes the critical reviews of its peers and isn’t afraid to say, well, we were wrong on that one. Challenging religion however still brings calls of blasphemer and heretic and so often the outspoken critics of religion (any religion) receive threats of death from so called followers of God, Christ, the gourd or whatever else might be out there. “… all I said to my wife was that piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah” (and here come the stones.)
BTW – If you want to shut up an atheist all you need to do is be prepared to discuss the facts, the evidence, and not the misleading fiction brought on by a single book.
Prayer didn't help Rick Perry. If prayer worked then maybe he could pray for a brain.
If prayer worked, the OP wouldn't be able to post, IYKWIMAITYD.
Prayer can only do one thing when done right – know the love of God nearer to what it actually is.
Care to translate that into an intelligible sentence, 23skiddoo?
I doubt you can.
Those of you who believe prayer has an effect: please give some credible, tangible evidence or concede that it's simply a "belief" and not "fact."
I quote Jesus. When you pray to your Father who hears you in secret, He will reward you in your reality with an answer. If you ponder your past long enough you would see that many prayers have already been answered. This is because his answer to many of our desires is simply "no". That we cannot accept this denial is the evidence of our sinful nature. Of all the living things, only man feels frustration.
Bullsh!t, pure and simple.
You are either a lying idiot or an idiotic liar. Many animals feel frustration.
For example, many people, perhaps billions have said to God "l don't want to die now, can't I live a little longer?" And God said "no".
*cartoon characters are artistic depictions, not actual animals.
Oh, for the love of Pete, what does THAT prove, you moron?
Oh geezy peezy, people die, there must be a deity.... I woke up 10 mins ago, must be a deity.... I went wee wee, must be a deity (hey that rhymes!)... I hate tangerines and so does the voice in my head, must be a deity.
So you do have some small grasp of reality, I was beginning to wonder.
Dogs, cats, dolphins, chimps and others have shown what can be descibed as frustration when they are unable to learn something or are denied a treat or affection.
So, did anybody ask Mitt or Paul whether prayer helped them or not?
Frustration. Dogs. Chimps. Dolphins. C a t s. F r u s t r a t i o n. You will know. Frustration.
Oops, ok, well I'm going to have to take back your 'I have a tenuous grip on reality' card. Thanks for playing and Vanna will tell you what you have won.
Vanna: Not a damn thing.
Never mind. Forget the whole damn thing. Go back to playing with your sword. And your figurines with "feelings"
I'm sorry little fella, didn't realize you were going to get all sensitive and emotional about facts. Good job on the snappy comeback about the sword. Did you pray for that?
If one believes in an all-knowing god (a being who, by definition, would know every detail of the past, present and future), then one cannot believe that the future can be altered. It is already set and done in the 'mind' of this god, and there cannot be any change to this. I would argue that any event that is humanly preceived to be a 'change' would not be a 'change' at all – because it would have already been forseen by the all-knowing god.. and thus, a 'part of the plan' all along! Therefore, it is only sensible, and logical, and reasonable, and rational, to conclude that prayers offered to an all-knowing deity cannot change anything.
Humanist, I have been saying that for years. But, as they say, reason is the enemy of faith. You cannot argue simple grade-school logic with a brainwashed zealot. To them, the sky is blue because "god" wanted it that way. The concept (and fact) of light refraction escapes them.
When you want to get things done or talk things out like a rational person, call a Democrat.
If you want to destroy our government and make sure no one can get anything done, call a Republican.
John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world"
Can't you christians get this thru your thickened heads that Christ's Kingdom is not and never will be of our world!?
Then why do you pray "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." ? Are you not up to giving it a shot and making earth a place of peace, harmony and love?
The planet will never be peaceful, harmonious and loving. It will only ever come as close as possible to this without religion, which causes strife, division and hate.
This blog is a perfect example of why religion doesn't belong in government! Too many personal beliefs & convictions, which belong in church, temple or mosqe, not the Capitol! As I said in my 1st post, there are alot of religions, spinoffs, denominations & so called "cults"! Which 1 do we nominate for State Religion!? If that's where The Religious want to go! Obviously it can't be done in USA, due to the brilliant Separation of Church & State! Not to mention, The Religious would start another "holy war" over who's religion gets top honors! That could take 100's of years! The best thing to do is... you got it, leave religion our of politics & politics our of religion! Church is for prayer not politicizing!!
Do you have the "MARK" of Liberty,which President Obama glorified in his victory speech, on your forehead or on your hand?
Do you have a tinfoil hat?
I think you have the mark of my foot up your ass.
So you decided to go with foot...that is much more polite then the direction I would have gone.
You have the mark of 'L' on your forehead...
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.