By Ryan Pitkin
A survey released by the Pew Research Center yesterday shows a shift in religious political thought happening among Americans, especially among conservatives. The survey shows a 20 percent increase since the last election of conservatives who would like for religious institutions to keep out of political affairs. While Democrats have stayed at about 50 percent, the increase by Republicans almost eliminates the large party gap that existed four years ago on this issue. A sign that disillusionment and frustration may be changing the way the Republican party is viewed.
This survey also shows that more Americans feel uncomfortable hearing politicians speak about religion than in the past. This feeling of religious apathy has grown from 40 percent during the Bush-Kerry campaigns to 46 percent now. Those numbers should not fool Obamas camp. Although this rise is prevalent in independent voters crucial to his campaign, Obama needs to speak on his religion at least sparingly until November to fend off rumors of religious extremism, both Muslim and Christian. In 1960 JFK faced an America who thought it taboo to discuss religion outside the home or church. He won over pessimistic Protestant voters by making it a topic of discussion instead of hiding in silence behind rumors. If the Bush administration has made people uncomfortable with a politicians religion, Obama should invite the discussion, and make them comfortable.