By Frank Bruni
Another presidential campaign is taking shape, and potential Republican candidates are beginning to speak with extra care — and sometimes with censorious hellfire — about certain social issues. As ever, they’re bowing to a bloc of voters described as Christian conservatives.
But these voters are a minority of Christians. They’re not such representative conservatives.
They have a disproportionate sway over the Republican Party. And because of that, they have an outsize influence on the national debate.
That’s an inescapable takeaway from new data compiled by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan group that interviewed more than 50,000 Americans last year.
To put together what it is calling the American Values Atlas, the institute divided survey respondents into more than a dozen faith-related categories, some of which factored racial identity into the equation as well. White evangelical Protestants and black Protestants are separate groups, as are white Catholics and Hispanic Catholics.
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