According to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, fewer conservatives believe that religion has a place in government.
Four years ago, just 30% of conservatives believed that churches and other houses of worship should stay out of politics. Today, 50% of conservatives express this view.
The new survey finds that conservatives’ views on this issue are much more in line with the views of moderates and liberals than was previously the case. Similarly, the sharp divisions between Republicans and Democrats that previously existed on this issue have disappeared.
There are other signs in the new poll about a potential change in the climate of opinion about mixing religion and politics. First, the survey finds a small but significant increase since 2004 in the percentage of respondents saying that they are uncomfortable when they hear politicians talk about how religious they are — from 40% to 46%.
This holds a great deal of significance. The poll was taken prior to Sen. McCain’s announcement of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Will these numbers change now that the evangelical base is appeased? Do fiscal conservatives still feel evangelicals have too much say in their party?
It has long been the contention that in order to gain the presidency, one must be conspicuously religious. I find it encouraging that the right is starting to recognize the drain fundamentalists are wreaking in their party. Moderates who would otherwise have voted Republican are either joining the Libertarian or Democratic parties or simply not voting. Too often, public and fiscal policy with which they disagree is instituted, and out of a sense of party loyalty, they feel the need to support it.
Fiscal conservatives….small-government Republicans: Take your party back! We need good conservatives in office, just like a car needs a good set of brakes, to keep the social programs from excess. Balance is important in our political system; those checks and balances are there for a reason. We have many, many problems. It’s time to put the religious ones aside and concentrate on making our country stronger. We have two wars, and are currently in a fiscal spiral. Whether or not we remember God every day is not a governmental issue. It’s a private one. We need to stop wasting time on it.