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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. So CRATES

    Faith isn't going to fix anything. I want a politician in office that isn't stupid enough to believe the tooth fairy is real. I really wish they'd pile all the believers onto a giant ship and then fly it through space. Into the sun.

    April 28, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • ABCD

      Ok Stalin/Hitler we'll get right on that bigotous murder of anyone who doesn't believe what you BELIEVE you know is right.

      April 28, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • HITLER WAS A CHRISTIAN

      CASE CLOSED.

      FUCK!

      April 28, 2012 at 2:50 am |
    • Timothy

      Correction: Hitler is a Mormon, Romney's Mormons baptized Hitler, along with Ted Bundy, Timothy McVeigh, John Wayne Gacy and many other serial killers.

      What are we to think of a religion that "worships" and "idolizes" serial killers, baptizing them into their religion?

      What does this say about Romney? No wonder why he won't discuss his cult.

      April 29, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  2. Rebel4Christ

    Are country needs more of God not religion!!!! We NEED JESUS!!! Let Jesus lead or country!!!

    April 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Penny

      Mor gramer!

      April 27, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Michael

      Apparently, what OUR country needs, is more English classes. I feel like I need a translator to attempt to understand what you're trying to say.

      April 27, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Grammer

      What, dear? Did you want more? Now where did I put my glasses? Oh, dear...

      April 27, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      Rebel: Which of hundreds (thousands?) of different interpretations of the bible to oyu want to have the rule of law?

      April 28, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • sam stone

      oyu = you

      April 28, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Rebel4Christ

      Oh my Gosh it's not that bad ya babies!!

      April 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Rebel4Christ – "Let Jesus lead or country!"
      Please refer to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Consti.tution.

      April 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  3. Ebony Utley

    Voters may not want their politicians to be religious, but hip hop fans prefer that their rappers are religious. For more information see Rap and Religion http://amzn.to/yvDVYy.

    April 27, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  4. Robert Hagedorn

    Google First Scandal.

    April 27, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  5. Bob

    BoldGeorge, beyond your selective reading, the bible teaches all kinds of nastiness that can't be denied. Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes your sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations, and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Please, stop referencing that Christian book of nasty, AKA the bible, as a guide to, well, anything.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    April 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • tammie

      Kenite !

      April 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  6. Thinking is unhealthy for religion and other delusional ideologies

    This is why the Religious Right has absolutely no candidate for president. The Tea Party suffered a parallel faceplant as their delusional extremist ideology and bizarre, clownish candidates were too much for the bulk of America.

    April 27, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  7. 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 27, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  8. Plain Ol' Dreamer

    The manifestation of the "anti" has long since gone and we are living in its' prevailing amusements! WW1 and WW2 have come and gone with little more than a whimper from the religious clods still stammering about the "anti" next time! Most of the idiotic imbeciles of all sorts of socialisms many branches will never see the cunnings of the "anti"! Such cunningness has become the generationed lots of perplexed anal-isms ever to regurgitate upon their ownliness symmetricalities of generationalisms onward marching ever towards a new dawn of same ol' same ol' crapola! Eat! Drink! Dopes on the ropes!

    April 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  9. BoldGeorge

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

    That's because faith in people, moreso in politicians, is the worse kind of faith. Now, faith in God's word, that's true faith.

    April 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Ummm

      "Now, faith in God's word, that's true faith."

      Which God's word since there are thousands of different gods.

      April 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Nonimus

      ... and which word. There are thousands of translations too, right?

      April 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Try this:

      We'll vote for the politician's politics, if they'll leave the faith to those of faith.

      April 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      @Ummm

      Faith in the one True God of the Bible. Faith in Jesus Christ.

      @ Nominus

      That is a very contradictory sentence. If you voe for a politicians 'politics', you must have faith in them.

      April 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @BoldGeorg,
      "That is a very contradictory sentence. If you voe for a politicians 'politics', you must have faith in them."
      Let's not equivocate on semantics. I would vote on what I think his political ideas, if he can implement them, would do for the country. I don't need to have "faith" in the supernatural to estimate which candidate I think will do a better job.

      April 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      @ Nominus

      And you don't need to. The Bible even teaches to not have faith in man much less in his promises. As we all have seen in the political world (and the rest of the world), that couldn't be anymore accurate.

      April 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Bob

      BoldGeorge, the bible teaches all kinds of nastiness that can't be denied. Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes your sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations, and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Please, stop referencing that Christian book of nasty, AKA the bible, as a guide to, well, anything.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      April 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • danielwalldammit

      It's too bad that the latter is always at bottom the former.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  10. Justaman

    atheists believe anything a "religious fanatic" tells the world.

    Proven

    April 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      huh?

      April 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • danielwalldammit

      If by "proven" you mean "totally incoherent," then I believe you are right. ...maybe you're the guy.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  11. Bootyfunk

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

    i think people want less religion, but as atheists know, if you say you don't want religion, somehow that has always translated to "i am evil." so people have been afraid NOT to talk religion. politicians have HAD to talk about their religion. but i think people are tired of it. in england, politicians would be laughed at if they mentioned religion in a political debate/speech.

    April 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  12. archived

    No freaking kidding.

    April 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  13. Plain Ol' Dreamer

    fred wrote on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm stating, "We have a need for balance in our societies. Whether we have a Christian society or an atheist society both need each other. Governments and societies run to their own worst ends at times and need to be brought back into balance. Our current system is now broken as Republicans and Democrats have forgotten they serve the people and are under some self serving spell. Romney may just be the ticket because his priority is family and all the Mormon watchdogs will hold him accountable.
    "
    Accountabilities in individualisms and of socialisms are but dogged increments that neither do well amidst the ever amassing fundaments of egoisms' parlored affluencies!

    April 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Ain't it sweet when he tries so hard?

      April 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Huebert

      "sweet"... Not the word I would have used, but lets go with yours, it's nicer.

      April 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  14. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    Putting your religion into politics. It's like putting an elevator in an outhouse. All it leads to is a mess.

    April 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Tony

      Great post. May your balls never fall and your strap ever snap.

      April 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  15. tnfreethinker

    Yes, we want less, but none would be best. Maybe one day the Christians will realize that separation of church and state also applies to them.

    April 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Snow

      sad but one can only hope..

      April 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • fred

      We have a need for balance in our societies. Whether we have a Christian society or an atheist society both need each other. Governments and societies run to their own worst ends at times and need to be brought back into balance. Our current system is now broken as Republicans and Democrats have forgotten they serve the people and are under some self serving spell. Romney may just be the ticket because his priority is family and all the Mormon watchdogs will hold him accountable.

      April 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
      • tnfreethinker

        fred...Romney's priority is HIS family. Your & mine only cross his mind at voting time.

        April 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • fred

      tnfreethinker
      Look out then that is a big family with 14+ million brothers and sisters!

      April 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
      • tnfreethinker

        Yea, but only about 5 million of those are in the US, and if any of those are poor, he has already publicly said he doesn't care about them. What am I saying?! Mormonism is the religion of prosperity.

        April 27, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  16. martog

    Rather than inculcating our children with the primary-color simple Sunday school legends and myths most people do, might I suggest the following ten comandments to enable them to think for themselves.
    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.
    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.
    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.
    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars get frightened when you want to "look under the hood".
    5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and goblins and believing in any of them does not make one moral.
    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should I believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.
    7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?
    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of god” or “god moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered wrong.
    9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?
    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.
    I sometimes think that, if we first taught our children these simple guidelines, any religion or other supernatural belief would be quickly dismissed by them as quaint nostalgia from a bygone era. I hope we get there as a species.

    April 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Or to keep it simple:
      Consider all shamans con-men until the prove otherwise.

      April 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Plain Ol' Dreamer

      Doc Vestibule,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.,,..

      Tidal are the pools of spirited fundaments' earnesties! To lay wasted by one's nugacities is true forlorning and unworthy of but passiveness "candoration"! Leave such best in the aloneness lest the fabrisciousness takes a hold and does make lustereness their bigotrous anat'omies' hindsightivenesses! Eat! Drink! Be Merry and Merrily Be!

      April 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  17. Plain Ol' Dreamer

    Live one's self in-the-moments and let Time itself take care of that which shall never change its' coursings' omnipresence shapeliness! The aggregated and difuse social commodities are deemed liberal enough for underpinning and opining evaluations' constrainments of one's Self-afforded desirabilities' foresakedness! Such issuences do though tend to parlor towards self-serving monoliths of the ritualistic varieties within the commonly types ever leveraged thru aloofness desirables! God forbid this world should end before the next day goes by! Love therefore, the tenderness wonders of all Life's issuances!

    Do quarks want to remain quarks thru and into infinity's Timeliness? Are gluons feeling the sameness as quarks? Does the atom want to be within the microcosmos forever and with no hope of growing toward becoming something greater in size? Who among us humanists can in all honesties say that matters of lessor sized particles within the innernesses of everything want to remain steadfast and unchanging? Where truly does one say Life Begins! Why do we so narrow-mindedly think atomic matter is not a Life or Life-Force? God may well know each individual atom by its' God-given name! Our prudences' tend to deny matter its' right to exist and to grow! Shame on humanities for their pridefulness and vanities!

    You need sensability to be a fundament of principalities? How about Fractal Cosmology becoming a principled sensibility wherein the inside of living things is an exacting reflection of the outward dimension of spatial relatives? Could any and I do mean any Life-Form have cellular structures mimicking the heavenly structures we call stellar nebulas? Could our inside relatives really be where the Kingdom of God exists? Are we not perceived as an embodiment known as God's buildings? God does build with miniaturized cellular universes to create all formations of Life as we know it!
    http://www3.amherst.edu/~rloldershaw/stars2/menu.html this site deals with self-similarities between stars and atoms!

    Is it not written in the "holy" bible that we should "rightly divide the word of truth" which I see as being the bible this word of truth? Rightly dividing this word of truth does mean some things in it are not truthful while other things are truth! Choosing the truth in this book, the bible seems to be a challenge of all so many self-professed prophets and we know them by their fruits of richness do we not? So much for them getting into heaven if it is truthful that a camel has abetter chance to enter into heaven than rich people do have! Upon the backs of the hordes do the rich clamour and they will not reach their goals!

    Politically religious voters and the religiously political debutantes seem adjacently apart in terms of spiritual relativisms! God has become the latex pariah, a meaningless conjunctive wherewith the politicised variances become secular in trade-minded "constabulations'" recreancies! "I am a Christian" will never win in an undulating participatory abatement while agnostics playing the fields are with aplenty, the reverences regarding the religiously feudalistic omnivariations of monotheisms nationally and even worldwide! Typically pragmatic in their evolutional over-writes are the ilks of politics' armadas!

    Each "building" called a person's body holds a landlord and the building's tenants! Agreed? If such is truly the case(s) then each of our body-buildings has a landlord or God and this landlord/God does lease this body called building apartments out to those who are in need of residencies! A building called one of our bodies is awash with far too many mansions to ever be filled by willing tenants wanting to reside within our buildings of embodiedness!

    1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

    According to this ONE VERSE, we labour together with God and our bodies are His Husbandried Buildings to rent to His Kind and His Kindred sakes!

    People or Humanists have eyes for with to see! Most do see the animations of Life's abundant measurabilities! Others revel in the mindfields or what can be better disseminated as being spiritual socialisms while they are ever stayed put in their ownliness brain-yards of spiritualized individualisms! Our bodies are but rented buildings, the constructs of God and His Builders of the Evolutioned amalgums of Life here or anywhere the Celestial shores of the Terrestrial Planetia can so afford Life to become a manifestation upon!

    April 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Wow! Did the Boggle factory explode?

      April 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "Do quarks want to remain quarks thru and into infinity's Timeliness?"

      According to the latest Pew survey, Yes, quarks are quite content being quarks.

      {... or so they want us to believe.}

      April 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Yes, for some of us the 70's were a very long decade. Some of us took Monsanto's slogan to heart – better living through chemistry.

      But seriously Sparky, after 40 years all the lysergic acid should have cleared your synaptic gaps.

      April 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Plain Ol' Dreamer

      Primewonk,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.,,..

      Funny thing the Times are! Those 70's generationed' lots are now aged in diasperisms of their ownliness dogged insinuations of amalgumations' proper! I was once and now I am no more seems a bit like abandonment of one's once leveraged commonweatlth of peace above all wars! What ever happened to those peace-filled groupies? Too much money to be made outside of peace mills?

      April 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  18. Plain Ol' Dreamer

    People or Humanists have eyes for with to see! Most do see the animations of Life's abundant measurabilities! Others revel in the mindfields or what can be better disseminated as being spiritual socialisms while they are ever stayed put in their ownliness brain-yards of spiritualized individualisms! Our bodies are but rented buildings, the constructs of God and His Builders of the Evolutioned amalgums of Life here or anywhere the Celestial shores of the Terrestrial Planetia can so afford Life to become a manifestation upon!

    April 27, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Birch please

      Wishy washy subjective nonsense. You are you body/brain, nothing more nothing less.

      April 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Birch please

      your*

      April 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I've read about peyote. Scary stuff.

      April 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Primewonk

      The Kitteh says I can has chezburger.

      Teh ghey's are ebil.

      Mairzy doats and dozy doats. And liddle lamzy divey.

      See? I can string nonsensical words together too!

      April 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  19. di Mario

    Yes. Yes we are.

    April 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    April 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Really now?

      I can't tell if you're trolling or what, but prayer is the most useless thing ever. You actually believe praying does something? Get yourself into a mental facility ASAP.

      April 27, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven

      April 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Please don't feed the trolls.

      April 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Jesus

      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 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Ugh

      This blog was just becoming enjoyable again and then these stupid trolls had to show up again. Really? This is the stupidest thing on here. Do us all a favor and just stop so the real conversations can happen. Grow up.

      April 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • An Agnostic

      Nothing fails like prayer.

      April 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      For one brief, shining moment I though that Cap'n Sayin' Atheism Isn't An Angry Pervert Neuman was bored of trolling CNN and would go back to playing XBox in his mom's basement.

      April 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
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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.