Candidates: Talk About Religion? You'll Be Trusted

Here's something you might not believe, but did you know that politicians who talk about religion are supposedly trusted more?

I find it hard to believe because a lot of the talk in the Presidential race has been about exclusion, punishment and sometimes even hatred. 

Whatever happened to treat people the way you want to be treated?  Or, what would Jesus say?

We keep hearing -- at least from the Republicans -- that immigrants are bad (never mind they built this country), government is bad (meanwhile, the rich are making out pretty nicely with all the tax cuts), and abortion is bad but capital punishment is good.  And, oh, by the way, I go to church every Sunday.

I don't see God in any of that. 

According to a new study, including religion in campaign speeches feeds a belief that those who are religious to some extent are trustworthy and viewed more favorably.

 "Their religious identification reflects a powerful, widespread, but often subtle and unconscious bias in American society against those who do not believe in God," says study author Scott Clifford of the University of Houston Department of Political Science and Ben Gaskins of Lewis & Clark College, at The researchers note that there has been only one openly atheist congressman (Pete Stark, D-California), who lost in 2012.

Using national survey polling data, the researchers assessed the willingness of voters to support an atheist candidate, the favorability of candidate Hillary Clinton depending on whether she is viewed as religious, and the view that a religious candidate is trustworthy.

"Our findings suggest that not demonstrating religiousness is a significant roadblock for winning public office in the United States, and being perceived as religious increases the level of trust instilled in politicians by voters," Clifford says. "For Republicans (showing religiousness) will reinforce their existing support, but Democrats can expand appeal to moderates and conservatives with displays of religiousness."

So how do you connect religion with exclusion, punishment and hatred?  Beats me.  Guess we'll just have to wait until November.


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