THIS WEEK IN GOD…. First up from the God Machine this week is a look at the midterm elections and exit polls, as they relate to religious differences. The shift among Roman Catholic voters seemed especially noteworthy.
Democrats lost support across most demographics on Tuesday, and exit polls showed the fall-off among certain religious constituencies was dramatic.
Among Catholics, Democrats saw an 11-point drop in support compared with 2006 and 2008, when the party took 55 percent of those voters. This year, the Republicans won 54 percent of those voters, according to an analysis by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
All told, exit polls found that 54% of voters were Protestant, and 60% of their vote went to Republicans. Roman Catholics preferred the GOP by a 10-point margin, which was a significant shift from recent cycles. Democrats fared significantly better with everyone else, including a three-to-one advantage with minority faiths, and a two-to-one advantage among those who did not identify with a faith group.
Not surprisingly, one of the strongest demographics for the GOP was white evangelicals, 78% of whom backed Republican candidates.
Americans who attend religious services at least once a week preferred Republicans, 60% to 39%. Those who don’t preferred Democrats, 54% to 44%.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is pushing a proposal for the House to do away with symbolic congressional resolutions recognizing “individuals, groups, events and institutions.” That’s not a bad idea, especially by Cantor standards, but the religious right probably won’t like it, and might push for him to reverse course.
* In the wake of the midterm elections, the Texas Eagle Forum wants Congress to ban Muslim Americans from serving in the military , running for public office, or serving as government employees. Seriously.
* And as if the Vatican weren’t in the midst of enough European controversies: “The Vatican bank has taken steps to satisfy tough EU and international norms on money laundering and terror financing after being confronted with an unprecedented crackdown by Italian prosecutors…. Prosecutors, though, aren’t buying any of it. They claim that even as the bank was making such overtures, it broke the law by trying to transfer money without identifying the sender or recipient, or what the money was being used for.” (thanks to D.J. for the tip)