The Republican Party’s religion problem, in 2 charts

Nov 17, 2015

By Aaron Blake

Religiously unaffiliated Americans are fast becoming a bigger force in American politics, while a not-very-religious senator continues to compete unexpectedly for the Democratic nomination.



As The Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey wrote a while back, a Pew study shows those who claim to be religiously “unaffiliated” had increased from 16.1 percent of Americans in 2007 to 22.8 percent today — the fastest-rising group.

And we here on The Fix noted recently that religious unaffiliateds — which includes atheists and agnostics, but also those who might be religious but don’t belong to a specific church — are now actually the biggest religious demographic in the Democratic Party.

(They remain considerably less a force in the GOP, but still have increased from 10 percent to 14 percent since 2007.)

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All of this, of course, comes just more than a decade after so-called “values voters” in 2004 were supposed to have tipped the scales in favor of reelecting George W. Bush as president. Since then, social conservatism and religion have remained a driving force in the Republicans Party, in particular, but clearly not like they once did.

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9 comments on “The Republican Party’s religion problem, in 2 charts

  • If I were a Christian, I would get out my graph paper and extrapolate those numbers to see the date of extinction for each religious group if all continues the same. The dates are probably even earlier since religion depends so much on the peer pressure effect. A 1/4 full church will lose people faster than an 1/2 full church.

    A normal corporation, when its sales drop, tries to modify the product to make a more palatable to a larger market. Christians seem to do the opposite, heading off toward fundamentalism.

    The televangelists though make huge promises, stage miracles, have big musical numbers, dancing, bizarre behaviour — more of a circus. Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

    A statistician might want to look at the trends over time, and do a proper curve fit and extrapolate the extinctions.

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  • Is Roedy referring to the Shaker Effect whereby Christians become so fundamental that shagging is never permitted ?

    Not much chance , I know, but hope springs eternal !

    It seems the USA is finally throwing the shackles of religious nonsense. It will take a while, but IMO, it will happen.

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    Turnout in 2012 was just under 55%.

    If the above can be taken as an accurate reading of the whole electorate the Unaffiliated are as powerful as the Catholics (given that all descriptions of Religiously Unaffiliated are usually not helpful), and that means the Unaffiliated can win the next US election.

    Where are the politicians looking for Unaffiliated votes?

    Meanwhile: Right wing Catholic Bishops are not shy about making sure their flock votes Republican.


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  • The shift in percentages of people who are becoming less religious is a very hopeful sign that there is a positive direction to which our civilization is evolving. We have eliminated witch burnings among Christians in the name of some God delusion, I hope we can soon stop the suicide missions to kill people and go to “heaven” and get 27 “virgin” wives in the name of some other God delusion. (A “virgin” is a woman who has never had a baby)

    I would be elated if we in the United States could elect an atheist president !

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  • “I would be elated if we in the United States could elect an atheist president !” I would too. We probably already have. He won’t admit it even a decade after he leaves office.

    I remember my neighbor saying, “All I care about is that the candidate believes exactly what is written in the Bible.” (I live in that very liberal state of Georgia.) So I think we better curb our enthusiasm for a few decades.

    Political activity for a liberal outside of Atlanta are pretty much limited to figuring out what are this election cycle’s code words for black.

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  • So we have something like 55 more years to suffer from religion if the rate is linear. It won’t be linear. A sudden shift should happen soon, but religion caused by mental illness could linger indefinitely.

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  • If male martyrs can expect to find 72 virgin maidens in paradise when
    they die, what rewards can female suicide bombers expect?

    Perhaps if she has not fallen victim of the philosophies of Augustine of Hippo, she would get 27 (or 72) handsome young men to take care of her every desire!

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