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Survey: Culture War Truce on the Horizon

By Michelle Boorstein
Whither the culture wars?

A group of progressive pollsters and activists today released a new survey about religion and the upcoming election that suggests they may be on the wane.

The poll, commissioned by the group Faith in Public Life and conducted by the firm Public Religion Research, concluded that attitudes about hot-button issues such as abortion, legal recognition of same-sex relationships and the size of government are changing among young people -- possibly shifting or weakening the culture wars.

"What we see is younger Americans, including younger Americans of faith -- they are not the culture war generation," said Robert P. Jones, president of Public Religion Research. "They are bridging the divides that have entrenched the older generation."

A majority of white evangelicals, ages 18-34, favor either same-sex marriage or civil unions, compared with a majority of older evangelicals who favor no legal recognition, the poll found. Six in 10 young Catholics say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared with half of older Catholics. Young Catholics are more pro-government than any other faith group.

Younger evangelicals are less likely to identify as Republicans, or as "conservatives," though they are not signing up to vote for Obama, the poll showed, mirroring other previous research on that subject.

Other changes, according to the poll:

  • While those who attend worship services most and least regularly haven't changed their political leanings from Republican and Democratic, respectively, voters who attend services once or twice a month -- 16 percent of the population -- are swinging toward Obama. Sen. John Kerry lost this group in 2004, 49 percent to 51 percent. Today six in 10 of those voters are for Obama.

  • Obama leads among Catholic voters of all ages, 51 percent to 40 percent. In 2004 Kerry lost this group to George W. Bush, 52 to 47 percent. However, white Catholics, who have voted with the winner in every presidential election since 1972, are evenly split between McCain and Obama, according to Washington Post-ABC polling. That is a decrease for the Republicans.

    Other major barometers were unchanged, including among the most churchgoing Americans and white evangelicals in general; both groups go for McCain.

    It's not clear yet how these attitude changes will affect the upcoming presidential election, or if it will take another election or more to see it all shake out -- and how.

    "The poll's findings indicate broader seismic shifts occurring that are probably too nascent to be dramatically reflected at the polls on Nov. 4," said Katie Paris, a spokeswoman for Faith in Public Life.

    The survey was conducted from Aug. 28 to Sept. 19 and included 2,000 adults and an oversample of 974 people ages 18 to 34. The margin of error for the national sample is +/- 2.5 percent and +/- 3 percent for respondents 18 to 34. It compared its data with previous exit polls and was funded by the Ford Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation.

    Posted at 5:22 PM ET on Oct 8, 2008  | Category:  Religion
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    It gives me hope to hear that the younger generation is more open-minded about differences between us. I would hope that it is a product of better education.

    My view is simple: ignorance breeds fear; fear breeds hatred. If we can eliminate the ignorance, the fear and hatred will go away by themselves. I do not expect all people to embrace different ideas, but it would go far to civilized discourse if a little Christian tolerance were introduced.

    People need to learn that their lives and life-styles are not threatened by diversity.

    Posted by: OldUncleTom | October 9, 2008 10:35 PM

    I would like to know where these people live that their values trump what is happening in our country right now. I would like to move there because obviously the economic downturn and foreclosures, high gas prices and our bad healthcare doesnt touch their communities.............

    Posted by: rharring | October 9, 2008 3:59 PM

    Sen. Barry Goldwater was perhaps one of the last "true" conservatives.
    Not long after Goldwater's heyday, Ronald Reagan created the modern Republican party by fusing religious fundamentalism with the traditional Republican elites. Now that 30-year alliance is breaking down, with a candidate who does not have the respect of either half of this coalition.
    November 5 is going to usher in a long soul-searching by the Republican party over what they believe and where they plan to go.

    Posted by: dbitt | October 9, 2008 12:16 PM

    My recent letter to the editor says it all:

    It is disheartening to see the culture wars reignited. It is high time these “wedge issues” fade into the political background where they will be less harmful.
    There are real issues that cry out for our attention. The melt down of our financial system is the latest disaster to strike. It is easy to name issues that are meaningful: global warming, energy, health care, education, disease, clean drinking water and clean air for our children's futures, poverty, and national debt – the list goes on.

    To base a vote on issues best left to the conscience of the individual is akin to burying one’s head in the sand. This is no longer the land of our fathers; this is the 21st century. We cannot afford to live blindly in an increasingly diverse society.

    The future is bright. If my career in education enlightened me in no other way, it certainly exposed me to the way our young people think. The vast majority are very tolerant and accepting of others and their lifestyles. Anyone who doesn’t see the changes that are coming as these young citizens continue to grow and take the reins of power is only deceiving themselves. Today’s wedge issues will be tomorrow’s relics.

    Posted by: MichaelDishnow1 | October 9, 2008 12:09 PM

    scrivener50-
    Why are conservatives/facists SO gullible?

    Posted by: kase | October 9, 2008 11:35 AM

    jzelouise-
    And Goldwater, the scumbag, failed miserably didn't he?
    There are no GOOD republicans...just those with a varying degree of guilt.

    Posted by: kase | October 9, 2008 11:31 AM

    "I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate.
    I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism."
    -- Barry Goldwater (Congressional Record, Sept. 16, 1981)

    Posted by: jzelouise | October 9, 2008 12:29 AM

    What is surprising about this article? Nothing. I could have told you a while back; these new people were babies when Clinton was the Prez, and could care less about about Sept 11th 2001. Its all ancient history to them. This is the fundamental Hillary Clinton lost the drive to be the Prez, she was banking on her husband's name and none of the young people give a flip. Hillary is a dinosaur.

    Events from 8 to 16 years ago mean nothing to these kids. That's why Obama is so popular with them, because he speaks empty suit type talk and they suck it up. They don't know any better and it's really our country's fault that this has happened.

    The Chickens have come home to roost.

    Posted by: retiredinTennessee | October 8, 2008 11:35 PM

    I don't buy it. In today's media landscape, it's the few extremists who hog the stage, hog the mic, then hog the policy arena. A bunch of religious moderates politely agreeing to disagree over issues of faith?

    Forget it. That's a low number on the TV ratings. Those books are hidden back in the shelves at the bookstore. That blog don't hunt.
    There's already a new generation of shrill culture war pundits taking the stage as we sit here and think this over. It's still on.

    Posted by: jaho | October 8, 2008 11:20 PM

    Sadly, this really has NOTHING whatsoever to do with Christianity! It is change-phobia, an irrational desire to hold on to the past by frightened, confused and often uneducated people.

    Posted by: squirebass | October 8, 2008 10:58 PM

    Why are liberals/progressives SO naive?

    Please -- read this:

    http://www.nowpublic.com/world/american-gestapo-state-supported-terrorism-targets-u-s-citizens

    Posted by: scrivener50 | October 8, 2008 10:57 PM

    Nice to hear that the religious youth are turning left on social issues and rejecting the hardened, bigoted moralism and fundamentalism of their elders.

    Maybe this is a lesson to McCain that he should not have turned so far right as he did (including the choice of the uber-right nurse Ratched aka Sarah Palin). A flip-flop most unbecoming to a formerly-esteemed senator.

    Posted by: spatula | October 8, 2008 10:38 PM

    nyrunner101, I agree with all you say! They will rot in hell (if only there were such a place).

    Posted by: johng1 | October 8, 2008 10:36 PM

    Interesting poll, maybe church leaders should instruct young Christians to persue careers in the media. These young Christians could then use their position of influence to promote Christian positions on abortion, gay rights, family life, etc. Then a generation of young Americans will grow up socially conservative.

    Posted by: yankees1312 | October 8, 2008 10:32 PM

    Looks the good news here is that many are not falling for Obama's snake oil oratory.

    There may be hope for the country yet!

    Posted by: wj_phillips | October 8, 2008 10:30 PM

    It is four years later and I am still enraged by the Catholic vote for George Bush in 2004 and the American Bishop's tacit approval of that vote. Yeah, Bush was technically pro=life but that unnecessary war killed thousands of innocent Iraqi children and Bush supported TORTURE. Let me repeat these words - the man that Catholics voted for was responsible for the TORTURE of hundreds of men. One more time - Catholics voted for a TORTURER. As far as I am concerned those Catholics should burn in hell for voting for a TORTURER. I am glad to see that their children are rejecting the rotten values of these parents who are morally repugnant.

    By the way, I am a Catholic.

    Posted by: nyrunner101 | October 8, 2008 10:28 PM

    war? more like free expression vs. fascisim...seems to me the left exercises free speech criticizing the right, and the right responds by trying to change the law and control the left's speech, sometimes with violence.

    Posted by: e9999999 | October 8, 2008 10:23 PM

    Most of this is not surprising, the right lost the culture wars 3 years ago when they raised their ruckus about terry schiavo and and scared the heck out of at least 75 % of the population when we realized these bozo's weren't even going to let us die in peace. I'm personally happy to see the radical right defanged a little bit like the radical left was in the late 80's early 90's. Anytime the fringe gets too strong its a bad thing for the country

    Posted by: chet_brewer | October 8, 2008 10:11 PM

    Vimrich's definition of the culture war as somehow transformed into those who think America is great, vs. those who think it's terrible... is ridiculous.

    So Americans should shut up, love their country, never criticize the decisions our flawed civilian leadership make... and yet expect our country to survive?

    This is not close to a culture war... it's a slogan, it's a transformation of name calling that's no longer getting people excited. It's the newest incarnation of "we're more patriotic than you" and you don't deserve to be here.

    It didn't deserve a response, but I suspect we'll see more of this kind of thing. I guess I'm a hater to the 3rd power, or "cubed" (hate people who hate people who hate america?). Since you probably hate me now in this 'war', your hate to the fourth...

    Posted by: Rickster623 | October 8, 2008 10:01 PM

    Hopefully this change in the youth will mean no more killings due to racism, homophobia etc.

    It would be great to see the United States at the point where there are no more Rodney King's or Mathew Shepard's.

    However currently McCain and Palin are doin their best to make sure their is.

    Posted by: guytaur1 | October 8, 2008 9:57 PM

    I think this is an interesting sign of the times, not much more.

    Like any human organization, some of the more influential religious leaders have strayed too close (in my opinion) to government and have become very transparent in their attempts to legislate their beliefs on others. In the abstract this isn't distinguishable from any other organized lobby... except that there is the underlying salvation promise involved. I understand it, but it doesn't jibe with my own view of religion's role in my life. Religion taught me respect and tolerance and I think younger people are seeing many religious leaders in practice not as defenders of the underclass or agents of tolerance, but rather as some sort of unelected senators who fight and claw for access to power... and then use it to advance their own very personal goals.

    Interestingly, I don't think I'm liberal by not opposing same-sex marriage and by believing that it is not the government's role to interfere in people's personal matters. Funny enough, I would have always believed that these are conservative stands, not liberal. I find there to be a fundamental contradiction in social vs. governmental/fiscal conservatism.

    The pendelum will swing back to the "left" (whatever that means) and the "right" will scream the sky is falling...

    Posted by: Rickster623 | October 8, 2008 9:52 PM

    KEVIN CULLENMEDIAWATCH: MIDWAY THROUGH her debate with Joe Biden, Sarah Palin began dropping her Gs and channelling Marge Gunderson, the plain-speakin', pistol-packin' pregnant police chief in Fargo.

    Palin declared, in no uncertain terms, that she needn't answer questions put to her by the moderator, that Obama-lovin' Gwen Ifill, who works for the ultraliberal Public Broadcasting Service, or anybody else in the mainstream media. She was gonna talk straight to the American people.

    It was great theatre, but in a Beckett-like absurdist way. It is a tried and true tactic of the American right to blame any and all their problems on the "mainstream media". They even have an acronym for it: MSM, as if it's some malevolent Chinese food additive. According to the right, the only place the American people can get fair and balanced news is from the likes of Fox, Rush Limbaugh, and the rest of the right-wing ideologues who clutter the airwaves on talk radio.

    The truth is, Sarah Palin and John McCain should thank their lucky stars for the dreaded MSM because, aside from the aforementioned ideologues, it is only those members of the MSM who uphold minimal journalistic standards of fairness and relative objectivity who are looking at Palin these days for anything but a punchline.

    Even some right-wing pundits have had the temerity to point out that the nice lady from Alaska is an empty suit. Peggy Noonan, Ronald Reagan's speechwriter, got into trouble with her fellow Republicans when, while commenting on McCain's cynical sop to the religious right, she described Palin's selection as "political bulls**t" into a TV microphone she didn't know was on. Noonan's dismissal of Palin as a serious politician in a Wall Street Journal column after the debate was even more devastating, because it came with time for reflection, and after Noonan had withstood withering attacks from Republicans who accused her of aiding and abetting the enemy.

    The McCain campaign is blaming the MSM for Palin's steadily sinking poll numbers. An interesting tactic, given that Palin's handlers have steadfastly refused to let journalists from that mainstream media question her. They are especially wary of letting newspaper reporters have a go at her. She has done only a few sit-down interviews with handpicked TV presenters.

    One of the interviews, with Sean Hannity, a right-wing pundit on Fox, was cringe-inducingly obsequious, like watching Ryan Tubridy interview Jesus Christ.

    The interview with Katie Couric, an avowed liberal who gets paid $15 million a year to read the news on CBS, shouldn't have been much harder for Palin, but Couric asked a couple of questions that required speaking beyond rehearsed talking points, and Palin folded like a cheap suit. Palin fumbled around like a child caught stealing biscuits. At one point, she rambled on for more than a minute in a stream of consciousness that sounded like a cross between a paragraph in Finnegans Wake and Robert De Niro's last, apocalyptic words as he sank beneath the water's surface at the conclusion to Cape Fear.

    So worried were Palin's handlers about how she'd perform in the debate that, just days before it, they launched a pre-emptive strike on Ifill, a widely-respected journalist who just happens to be black.

    You know, like Barack Hussein Osama. Wink, wink.

    The conservatives had a point: Ifill is writing a book called The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama , so she has a personal and financial stake in Obama getting elected.

    But when Ifill was selected as moderator two months ago, she disclosed that she was writing the book, and no one complained then. Of course, McCain had not yet selected Tina Fey as his running mate. As it turned out, no one beyond the loony right-wing blogosphere suggested Ifill was anything but impartial during the debate.

    It's sad but true that the mainstream media will carry on with the charade, all the way to November 4th, that Sarah Palin is a serious candidate, that she resonates with ordinary voters because she's just so gosh darn ordinary, even if the Republicans have no intention of letting said ordinary voters hear what she has to say in anything but a stage-managed interview. Objectivity is a beautiful thing.

    It was beyond ironic, then, when Palin said she was taking the gloves off the other day and accused Obama of "palling around with terrorists".

    As her indisputable source for this specious accusation, she cited none other than the New York Times , America's greatest newspaper, which she and the rest of the right constantly deride as a biased, bigoted mouthpiece of the liberal left.

    Apparently, Governor Palin didn't read the article in its entirety, because the exhaustive piece concluded that Obama and William Ayers, who was a member of a violent radical group opposed to the Vietnam War, are acquaintances at best, and that Ayers became a respected professor of education after his radical youth.

    In a media week when, aside from the more mundane news that the American economy is collapsing, it was all Palin, all the time, the best description of Sarah Palin's utter cluelessness about anything outside her own small, provincial Northern Exposure existence came from a caller to a talk radio show, albeit a show not typical of the usual American talk radio fare.

    National Public Radio's " On Point " is one of the more thoughtful call-in shows in America, and one caller told host Tom Ashbrook that after listening to the debate she had come to the conclusion that Sarah Palin is George Bush in a skirt.

    No doubt, Governor Palin would find comfort in her belief that anyone who listens to NPR is a God-hatin', Obama-lovin' commie.

    Kevin Cullen, who will be writing a weekly media column through the elections, is a columnist for the Boston Globe.

    © 2008 The Irish Times

    This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times

    Posted by: MILLER123 | October 8, 2008 9:41 PM

    KEVIN CULLENMEDIAWATCH: MIDWAY THROUGH her debate with Joe Biden, Sarah Palin began dropping her Gs and channelling Marge Gunderson, the plain-speakin', pistol-packin' pregnant police chief in Fargo.

    Palin declared, in no uncertain terms, that she needn't answer questions put to her by the moderator, that Obama-lovin' Gwen Ifill, who works for the ultraliberal Public Broadcasting Service, or anybody else in the mainstream media. She was gonna talk straight to the American people.

    It was great theatre, but in a Beckett-like absurdist way. It is a tried and true tactic of the American right to blame any and all their problems on the "mainstream media". They even have an acronym for it: MSM, as if it's some malevolent Chinese food additive. According to the right, the only place the American people can get fair and balanced news is from the likes of Fox, Rush Limbaugh, and the rest of the right-wing ideologues who clutter the airwaves on talk radio.

    The truth is, Sarah Palin and John McCain should thank their lucky stars for the dreaded MSM because, aside from the aforementioned ideologues, it is only those members of the MSM who uphold minimal journalistic standards of fairness and relative objectivity who are looking at Palin these days for anything but a punchline.

    Even some right-wing pundits have had the temerity to point out that the nice lady from Alaska is an empty suit. Peggy Noonan, Ronald Reagan's speechwriter, got into trouble with her fellow Republicans when, while commenting on McCain's cynical sop to the religious right, she described Palin's selection as "political bulls**t" into a TV microphone she didn't know was on. Noonan's dismissal of Palin as a serious politician in a Wall Street Journal column after the debate was even more devastating, because it came with time for reflection, and after Noonan had withstood withering attacks from Republicans who accused her of aiding and abetting the enemy.

    The McCain campaign is blaming the MSM for Palin's steadily sinking poll numbers. An interesting tactic, given that Palin's handlers have steadfastly refused to let journalists from that mainstream media question her. They are especially wary of letting newspaper reporters have a go at her. She has done only a few sit-down interviews with handpicked TV presenters.

    One of the interviews, with Sean Hannity, a right-wing pundit on Fox, was cringe-inducingly obsequious, like watching Ryan Tubridy interview Jesus Christ.

    The interview with Katie Couric, an avowed liberal who gets paid $15 million a year to read the news on CBS, shouldn't have been much harder for Palin, but Couric asked a couple of questions that required speaking beyond rehearsed talking points, and Palin folded like a cheap suit. Palin fumbled around like a child caught stealing biscuits. At one point, she rambled on for more than a minute in a stream of consciousness that sounded like a cross between a paragraph in Finnegans Wake and Robert De Niro's last, apocalyptic words as he sank beneath the water's surface at the conclusion to Cape Fear.

    So worried were Palin's handlers about how she'd perform in the debate that, just days before it, they launched a pre-emptive strike on Ifill, a widely-respected journalist who just happens to be black.

    You know, like Barack Hussein Osama. Wink, wink.

    The conservatives had a point: Ifill is writing a book called The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama , so she has a personal and financial stake in Obama getting elected.

    But when Ifill was selected as moderator two months ago, she disclosed that she was writing the book, and no one complained then. Of course, McCain had not yet selected Tina Fey as his running mate. As it turned out, no one beyond the loony right-wing blogosphere suggested Ifill was anything but impartial during the debate.

    It's sad but true that the mainstream media will carry on with the charade, all the way to November 4th, that Sarah Palin is a serious candidate, that she resonates with ordinary voters because she's just so gosh darn ordinary, even if the Republicans have no intention of letting said ordinary voters hear what she has to say in anything but a stage-managed interview. Objectivity is a beautiful thing.

    It was beyond ironic, then, when Palin said she was taking the gloves off the other day and accused Obama of "palling around with terrorists".

    As her indisputable source for this specious accusation, she cited none other than the New York Times , America's greatest newspaper, which she and the rest of the right constantly deride as a biased, bigoted mouthpiece of the liberal left.

    Apparently, Governor Palin didn't read the article in its entirety, because the exhaustive piece concluded that Obama and William Ayers, who was a member of a violent radical group opposed to the Vietnam War, are acquaintances at best, and that Ayers became a respected professor of education after his radical youth.

    In a media week when, aside from the more mundane news that the American economy is collapsing, it was all Palin, all the time, the best description of Sarah Palin's utter cluelessness about anything outside her own small, provincial Northern Exposure existence came from a caller to a talk radio show, albeit a show not typical of the usual American talk radio fare.

    National Public Radio's " On Point " is one of the more thoughtful call-in shows in America, and one caller told host Tom Ashbrook that after listening to the debate she had come to the conclusion that Sarah Palin is George Bush in a skirt.

    No doubt, Governor Palin would find comfort in her belief that anyone who listens to NPR is a God-hatin', Obama-lovin' commie.

    Kevin Cullen, who will be writing a weekly media column through the elections, is a columnist for the Boston Globe.

    © 2008 The Irish Times

    This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times

    Posted by: MILLER123 | October 8, 2008 9:39 PM

    Treetopflyer, the "observation" wasn't directed at you personally..you seem to have a pretty rational view of life....not my view, but hey, that's ok.

    I was directing my observation at a more "certain" Christian....

    :-)

    As far as I'm concerned we might as well all worship Zeus and read entrails....

    Posted by: toritto | October 8, 2008 9:32 PM

    The culture war isn't about these so-called "social issues" any more. The real culture war is whether you have a positive view of America and the ideas that it was founded on - the people can with freedom, and that pioneer spirit of innovation and exploration (now found in technology and start ups and entreprenureship) find happiness, OR whether you think America represents the depraved wretches of humanity who are ruining the Globe and need to be told how to live by an all powerful state run by a few elites who know better than we do what will make us happy in life.

    Posted by: vimrich | October 8, 2008 9:32 PM

    An observation.

    Supppose you, a strong Christian believer, were selected by your god to be born in....say Saudi Arabia?

    Posted by: toritto
    =====================================================
    Well first of all, thank you for assuming I'm a strong Christian believer. I wish I was. My faith, as witnessed in how I walk it, not just talk it, is much weaker than I'd like it to be.

    If I were in Saudi Arabia, yes, I would probably be a Muslim. I honestly think that would have little effect on my ultimate salvation (or anyone else's). Who goes to heaven and who doesn't is for God to determine, not me. I'm not even certain that there is a heaven. If by living a life where I value each human as valuable as myself and I can honestly and effectively give and receive love, then I consider my soul saved, regardless of whether it outlasts my body or not. And of course religion is cultural; what religion has to do with faith, though is often a mystery to me. Jesus spread a message of repentance, forgiveness and the Kingdom of God; Peter and Paul were the ones who turned it into a religion.

    Essentially my view of religion is that it's a "best guess". Only God knows who God is. But I take a Campbellian view of religion. Joseph Campbell called faith a spiritual operating system, and said in most cases it's best to stick to the OS you're used to. I'm kind of like that. I'm a Christian, I use WinXP. I've examined most of the world's other religions and I've flirted from time to time with various flavors of Linux. But I've made my choices and I'm happy with them. May you and everyone else be happy with yours.

    Posted by: treetopflyer | October 8, 2008 9:26 PM

    An observation.

    Supppose you, a strong Christian believer, were selected by your god to be born in....say Saudi Arabia?

    Would you be s fine Sunni muslim?

    Bet you would.....and what does that say about your current faith?

    That perhaps it is a cultural?

    ...or is it that because you were born here and had the opportunity to find the "true" faith, that you are the "elect of god"?

    If god is omnipotent and all-knowing, doesn't he know in advance who will be saved and who won't?

    Just asking....

    :-)

    Posted by: toritto | October 8, 2008 9:12 PM

    treetopflyer what I said is true. Do i have to put little [almost all] modifiers before [almost] everything I write?
    -----------------------------------------
    It would help. For one thing, you wouldn't have to deal with pests like me.
    =========================================
    What I said is true.
    -----------------------------------------
    No, it's not. You made a blanket accusation, "Christians by definition are bigots." That is not true. I personally know many very tolerant Christians, certainly more tolerant than you appear to be.
    =========================================
    No honest and open Atheist will ever be elected to office in this country, any time soon. Christians [almost all] [almost always] use a religious test when examining a canidate, they will [hardly ever] not vote for an atheist.
    -----------------------------------------
    You're [probably] right. I'll be interested to see what you have in mind to address that problem.
    =========================================
    Atheists who vote today, vote for candidates who are Christian. It's blatantly obvious that we are not using the same religious test on candidates.
    -----------------------------------------
    Hardly a virtue, since your own post indicates the only alternative to voting for someone professing a faith is to not vote, period.
    =========================================
    And by the way: I can have all the bigotries I want and still point to another's,
    -----------------------------------------
    Yes
    =========================================
    my bigotries do not excuse yours.
    -----------------------------------------
    Not sure what bigotries your talking about, unless you mean "yours" in the plural. In that case you're right. Just a reminder that the reverse also holds true; someone else's bigotry doesn't justify yours.
    =========================================
    Where did you get the ridiculous idea that I'm not allowed to point at someone else's bigotry?
    -----------------------------------------
    Where did you get the ridiculous idea that I got that ridiculous idea? I never said you weren't allowed to, I just asked you to take a look at yourself before you point the finger at others. If you want to be a hypocrite that's 100% your choice - don't let me stop you from making a jerk out of yourself. Of course, it might dawn on you that even though that's your right it's not an obligation. Good luck with that.

    Posted by: treetopflyer | October 8, 2008 8:53 PM

    treetopflyer what I said is true. Do i have to put little [almost all] modifiers before [almost] everything I write?

    What I said is true. No honest and open Atheist will ever be elected to office in this country, any time soon. Christians [almost all] [almost always] use a religious test when examining a canidate, they will [hardly ever] not vote for an atheist.

    Atheists who vote today, vote for candidates who are Christian. It's blatantly obvious that we are not using the same religious test on candidates.

    And by the way: I can have all the bigotries I want and still point to another's, my bigotries do not excuse yours. Where did you get the ridiculous idea that I'm not allowed to point at someone else's bigotry?

    Posted by: khote14 | October 8, 2008 8:20 PM

    Welcome, faithful, to the world of tolerance!

    Us atheists have been voting for religious people pretty much 100% of the time for as long as we've been voting.

    I've voted for Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Baptists, even a Zen-Jesuit (Jerry Brown).

    I've never voted for an admitted atheist. Never had the opportunity. Along with Muslims and non-monotheistic believers, the faithful majority in America would never allow it.

    Posted by: terry1960 | October 8, 2008 8:18 PM

    Sarah Vowell, the comedian and author, said something last night that is so obvious that I don't know why it hasn't gotten thrown in the face of flat-earthers from day one. Regarding the conceit that the East Coast is somehow unamerican, she said, "Well, al Qaeda considered it American enough on 9/11, so maybe they should too." Game, set, match.

    Posted by: treetopflyer | October 8, 2008 8:15 PM

    treetopflyer wrote "khote14, you're committing the very bigotry you accuse Christians of. Let me walk you through this:"

    --------------------------------------------
    treetop, your logic of course is correct but it would never get an atheist elected. It usually takes more than one vote.

    Down in the deep south where the AA population approaches 30%, most closet Republicans run in the Democratic primary because they do not believe they can dismiss 30% of the vote. I would venture it would be even worse for an atheist in most parts of the US of A.

    Posted by: Thependulumswings | October 8, 2008 8:14 PM

    I have no doubt that there are tens of millions of closet atheists in the US.

    Why are there so few public ones?

    Posted by: toritto | October 8, 2008 7:48 PM


    Atheists will vote for Christian candidates - like we have a choice in that, but Christians will never vote for a candidate who admits to being atheist.

    So by definition Christians are bigots, and those who declared this culture war as a way of inflaming the robots are the worst of all.

    I'd like to have my country back. Maybe this is a good sign, we'll see.

    Posted by: khote14
    ================================================
    khote14, you're committing the very bigotry you accuse Christians of. Let me walk you through this:

    You're saying because part or even most Christians are bigots (because they won't vote for an atheist), therefore ALL Christians are bigots. Once you've calmed down and reread what you wrote you'll realize you're wrong. All it takes is one Christian who would vote for an atheist to disprove your rule. Pleased to meet you. Not that I've ever been presented with the opportunity to vote for an atheist, but I know that if there was one who was the best qualified candidate I'd vote for them and not think twice about it. I'm sure there are others who feel exactly the same way, though not, unfortunately, enough to constitute a majority in most elections.

    Keep an eye on your own bigotry before accusing others of it.

    Posted by: treetopflyer | October 8, 2008 7:39 PM

    OK scriptural experts; Where is this from?

    How many are your deeds,
    though hidden from sight.
    O sole God without equal !

    You made the Earth as You desired, You alone.
    With people, cattle, and all creatures.
    With everything upon Earth that walks on legs,
    And all that is on high and flies with its wings.

    Posted by: toritto | October 8, 2008 7:35 PM

    Some one earlier that me in this blog mentioned "evolution" which tempted me to rise to the bait. I am now and have been for a few years from the older generation. When I was their age, believe me, I was just like them. The only thing that I differed on was abortion. It was more a philosophical position because my take was "I am alive, therefore I am", and I could not bring myself to deprive another zygote(like I started out)of the right to be saying, "I am alive, therefore, I am". A little different than Descartes, I admit. Now, I am quite different and the only thing left from that time is my position on abortion. I even called myself 'progressive', but have discovered that I was trying to be evolving in the Lamarckian evolution rather than Darwinian. Yes, Darwinian evolution happens, but, very very slowly. The alleged evolution, if it is truly occurring, is Lamarckian evolution, since at least to myself, I am no longer 'progressive' and resigned to the sloooow Darwinian process.

    Posted by: wpcdias | October 8, 2008 7:28 PM

    Atheists will vote for Christian candidates - like we have a choice in that, but Christians will never vote for a candidate who admits to being atheist.

    So by definition Christians are bigots, and those who declared this culture war as a way of inflaming the robots are the worst of all.

    I'd like to have my country back. Maybe this is a good sign, we'll see.

    Posted by: khote14 | October 8, 2008 7:24 PM

    Atheists are the most oppressed, closeted people in society.

    How long will it take before a non-believer runs for high office?

    Posted by: toritto | October 8, 2008 7:20 PM

    Last night I was playing online backgammon with someone from Berlin. We started chatting about different languages - German, Czech, Thai - and other things to do with different countries. Today, thinking about it, I realized how long it had been since I'd talked with anyone inside this country who had even the slightest interest in what was going on out in the world. I remembered with an ache how a curiosity about things beyond the end of one's nose was at least accepted, if not out and out respected and admired, here in the United States. But now that's "elitist". It's unamerican not to be insular, xenophobic, provincial. Oh, hell - just flat out ignorant. I'm tired of it. I want culture back. I want joie de vivre. I want to embrace people who are different than me and not be ashamed of it. I want the borders open and the fresh air let in again - goddammit, I want to breathe!

    It's ironic that so many people in this country who fear and hate homosexuals have no problem with being homocultural.

    Posted by: treetopflyer | October 8, 2008 7:17 PM

    Who is Todd Palin?
    A former member of AIP Alaskan Independence Party

    Posted by: MILLER123 | October 8, 2008 7:15 PM

    It's called evolution.

    Posted by: lasker1895 | October 8, 2008 7:00 PM

    I've never seen this country more divided...Libs vs Neo-cons. We've see what the neo-cons will do to this country, it's time for the libs to change course and clean up their mess.

    Posted by: ryanr007 | October 8, 2008 7:00 PM

    Anything social insects of the human variety can do to reduce the Gross Domestic Misery Index is welcome. Making homosexual people unhappy increases the index. Putting holes in people with guns increases the index. Forcing your delusional beliefs down other peoples' throats increases the index. Declaring your belief that a war is God's Will increases the index. Bringing unwanted children into the world increases the index. Some people cling to religion because it gives them a license to judge other people on matters that are natural or are much harder to change than is generally believed. Let's work together to lower the Misery Index.

    Posted by: BlueTwo1 | October 8, 2008 6:58 PM

    To call this a "culture war" is such a misnomer that directly plays into the hands of the Christianistas. A far truer description is the "American Religious Attack on Secularity and Science."

    However you call it, when this "war" is dead and buried, let us hope it never rises it's monstrous head again.

    Posted by: ethanquern | October 8, 2008 6:57 PM

    In the election of the 2004 most American voted for Bush, now the people who voted for him are crying for the mistake they did, now many American is cheering McCain and ready to vote for him, the question is hasn't they learned from the past? Why is that? Because if McCain get elected, the same thing will happen, they will cry later for the choice they made, the problem is people don't learn from other's people mistakes, in this case they put the country at risk for their stupid and ignorant decisions. I hope you understand what I am talking about.

    Posted by: idamakled123 | October 8, 2008 6:56 PM

    In other words, McCain should have waited for these poll results before he picked Palin.

    Posted by: ChrisDC | October 8, 2008 6:51 PM

    This signals the necessary death of the Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, etc., legion of heaters, both "literally" and in actuality. That old, angry generation of koolaid drinkers turned Christianity on its head and made it into little more than a religious cult no different from radical Islam or radical Zionism, where killing the other guy is perfectly acceptable behavior if you can't convert him. Wouldn't it be a great world if we could somehow jettison all these freaks to Mars and watch them slaughter each other on pay-per-view? Sarah Palin can pilot the space ship. We'll call it the "Witches of Wasilla". The so-called "Christian Right" is and was neither, ever. It had its 15 minutes of fame. Angry people with no sense of compassion or tolerance, fearful of education, science, philosophy and insight, always fail in the end. When you use the Bible as an instrument of hate, you reap what you sow.

    Posted by: pookiecat | October 8, 2008 6:42 PM

    Interesting results from a section of society I couldn't care less about (and I don't mean young people).

    Posted by: mcdooley | October 8, 2008 6:17 PM |
    --------------------------------
    I assume you mean old people, and I wish you a very long life. Hope you'll be able to accept the young people not caring about you or your opinion in your old age.

    Posted by: mafox1 | October 8, 2008 6:36 PM

    This is an encouraging sign that bigotry and intolerance are losing the grip they hold on a segment of this country's population. If Obama benefits from this it will signal a paradigm shift on how politics will be played out in the US henceforth.

    Posted by: AJBF | October 8, 2008 6:32 PM

    This is a good sign. While millions go without health care, millions have lost their jobs and are in want, we're roasting our planet, we're engaged in two wars, and the economy is melting down, we do not need to be distracted by right-wing fulminations over the separation of church and state (settled over 200 years ago in the Constitution), abortion (decided by the Supreme Court 35 years ago), or whether same-sex couples can enter into certain kinds of agreements (mind your own business, not someone else's). The right wing in this country has given us McCarthyism, opposition to civil rights and women's rights, Vietnam, Nixon, unjustified impeachment of a president, the most incompetent president in at least the last 70 years, needless war in Iraq, Swiftboating, welfare for the rich, and massive national debt. It's way past time for a change and let's hope that at long last, right-wing extremists will be seen for the un-American whackos they really are and we can get on with honest debate about the major challenges facing our country. Yeah, you betcha.

    Posted by: Bob22003 | October 8, 2008 6:26 PM

    I don't think it is a truce. I think it is a victory for tolerance and human rights and a loss for bigotry and Nixon/Atwater/Rovian politics.

    Posted by: havok26 | October 8, 2008 6:24 PM

    This is encouraging. It will be good to see a day when we are not so polarized as a nation and can be a little more purple.

    Posted by: janefree0513 | October 8, 2008 6:22 PM

    Interesting results from a section of society I couldn't care less about (and I don't mean young people).

    Posted by: mcdooley | October 8, 2008 6:17 PM

    Of particular interest to me were the generation gaps on same-sex marriage. That's supposed to be wedge issues 1a, but the religious right's meme of gay marriage's existential threat to society just doesn't register with the youth.

    Posted by: FPLDan | October 8, 2008 6:09 PM

    The comments to this entry are closed.

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