An LA Times story about voters’ willingness to support candidates of various religious backgrounds completely baffles me. In the story is good news, bad news, and things that just don’t make sense.
Razib summarizes findings:
54% of Americans would not vote for a Muslim
37% of Americans would not vote for a Mormon
21% of Americans would not vote for an evangelical Christian
15% of Americans would not vote for a Jew
10% of Americans would not vote for a Roman Catholic
(an aside: I disagree with Razib about Gov. Mitt Romney. I think the real problem Romney will face is not his Mormonism, despite the poll, but that he really is not very popular in Massachusetts right now, particularly among the press. There’s a whole mess of dirty laundry that would make Bernard Kerik look clean just waiting to come out).
The good news is that anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism are on the wane (rock on Sen. Feingold!). The bad news is the strong bigotry towards Muslims and Mormons (I’ll discuss evangelicals later). But it’s the puzzling stuff that gets me.
In 2001, 25.4% of Americans called themselves Catholic. Assuming the Catholics don’t hate themselves (no jokes, please), that means about 13% of non-Catholics wouldn’t vote for a Catholic. Self-indentified Jews are about 2%, which means basically 15% of non-Jewish Americans would not vote for a Jew. About 18% of Americans would be considered evangelical. That means around 25% of non-evangelicals would not vote for an evangelical. Damn. I wonder why that is: Falwell and Dobson are certainly giving evangelicalism a good name, aren’t they? Maybe our Founders had the right idea protecting religion from the contamination of politics, after all.
The thing I don’t understand is that given the historically low levels of anti-Semitism, how does one explain what is happening in Delaware? Are there isolated enclaves of rampanant stupidity and hatred? (note: don’t try to explain the other side to me. Last I checked, “Jew boy” isn’t a term of endearment). I find that very puzzling.