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USA politics

(18 Posts)
MegCleary Fri 25-Sep-20 13:39:50

Can someone explain too me please? I always thought that as America the 'land of the free' I don't get why religious groups keep trying to force their beliefs on everyone.

Growing up I didn't realise America was so religious. I get it was founded on religious freedom but when did their beliefs now get to rule the highest court?

Has it always been a religious country. I thought as places became richer and had choice that went downhill.

Rainy day debate and curious.

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MegCleary Fri 25-Sep-20 15:52:53


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midsomermurderess Fri 25-Sep-20 16:52:23

Bloody hell. This site gets more and more stupid by the day.

lljkk Fri 25-Sep-20 17:02:20

Unkind, Midsomer.

Religious groups being very politically active only happened since late 1970s, OP. They had noisy moments before that (see Goldwater's run for nomination in late 60s), but were not an organised political coalition before 1980s. Look up history of the Moral Majority who formed specifically to get evangelicals to be more politically active. It was a constituency deliberately cultivated by the Republican party who found otherwise, that their natural demographic was likely to diminish.

That decline is a long term trend. After 2012 defeat in presidential election, Republicans commmissioned a report about why... came up with the answer that their base was too small & demographically declining: uneducated whites, especially older white uneducated males who were becoming smaller % of all USA population. But rather than expand into other demographics which was the original battle plan for 2016, Trump rallied the types of people who normally don't vote at all or are swing voters. In that way he expanded voter base.

There are people who dedicate their lives to trying to recruit from swing voters & minority demographic groups. Kelly Anne Conway made a career out of this kind of thing, actually.

In lots of countries it is considered immoral to have no faith. I don't think that's unusual at all, just a bit unusual to be so public a prejudice in high income country.

SixStringFanjo Fri 25-Sep-20 17:20:04

There's a tail between it's legs.
Nice one lljkk

MegCleary Fri 25-Sep-20 17:38:29

lljkk That’s really interesting, thank you I’ll look more into what you outlined. Thanks so much for the reply. Have family in the States but Irish descent so quite political for their own local area, not so much national. Fascinating that a group (evangelicals) cultivated.

Midsomer apologies my question annoyed you, hevean forfend a question be asked on a forum to try and learn/ understand something.

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Plussizejumpsuit Fri 25-Sep-20 17:42:51

I follow us politics ( kinda) honestly it is a very complex system with a complex history. I couldn't even begin to describe it on an Internet forum. I'd see if you can do some googling and look for some documentaries.
Or maybe someone with more time and more explaining capacity will come along. But you are right in that religion and politics are inextricably linked.

MegCleary Fri 25-Sep-20 17:55:40

I follow too, listen to a million podcasts but the origins intrigue me.

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TeenPlusTwenties Fri 25-Sep-20 18:20:45

I thought it was a good question OP.

Especially as religion has no place in the public (state) schools of the USA, and yet the religious right seems to hold great sway, especially on abortion. Plus the whole 'intelligent design' being taught in schools issue...

Then I wondered also whether it really was 'founded on religious freedom', or whether it was just founded by people whose religious beliefs weren't tolerated in England?

My DD studied The American West for GCSE history and I remember about the Mormons and Utah(?) but I don't remember much else on the religious issue.

BiBabbles Fri 25-Sep-20 19:28:40

lljkk gave a great summary on the how many evangelicals became political. Before then, it was often seen as not their business (and there are still certain groups that fall into that category, evangelical is dozens of denominations), but certain movers in the pulpits made power grabs and continue to make everything about a battle for the country's soul. Look into US TV evangelicals, many of them do it, alongside asking for people's money.

Corruption is rife, families creating power bases for themselves - it happens in religious institutions as it does in corporations. Really, it's just a culturally supported tool.

As for the Supreme Court and how religion can get involved in it, the Constitution gives pretty much no guidelines on justices. The President nominates and the Senate advices and consents. It doesn't say how they do that. There is no standard that must be applied - they can say yes or no for any reason, including that the nominee won't vote on constitutional matters the way the senator would like or just because they feel like it so yes, there has always been a chance of religious motivation. It doesn't even say how many judges there needs to be or anything to compel them to vote now - in 2016, Antonin Scalia died in February, and the Senators withheld the vote until Obama was out of power, and they is nothing constitutionally wrong with it.

Also, as for wealth being linked to a decline in religion - there is some evidence of that for individuals, though it's tends to be more that some religious beliefs directly contribute to lower wealth (women belong in the home, having a lot of kids, restrictions on education) and wealth often gives more access and an ability to be free of religious institutions. In some places, where those in power use religion as part of other institutions, it's harder to get free of it -- and even when not in political power, institutions can find other ways.

I mean, Saudi Arabia is a wealthy country, in the top 40 in GDP I think, but all our countries are willing to bend over backwards for them for their resources. Countries are willing to bend over the US for their resources, both the religious and non-religious communities. Even in the UK with reduced religious adherence, churches must be placated as they control large parts of the resources used for educating children so required religious education and mostly Christian collective worship it is.

It's pretty impossible to get rid of it at this point without a major overhaul, it's so meshed in at this point and, in the US, many churches are even more meshed into certain communities because there is much less of a social safety net.

chickenblc Sat 26-Sep-20 22:20:20

Trump's nominee is certainly... something.

MegCleary Sun 27-Sep-20 14:16:41

She is a worry. The thought of blocking access to abortion is so retrograde as is changing Obama’s healthcare act. I know the healthcare act not perfect but better than it was. The mountain of illness that’s going to occur after COVID angry

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user1471565182 Sun 27-Sep-20 16:00:48

The whole mythology of the US is a bit of a con. The idea the original pilgrims were fleeing to america from religious persecution is nonsense. They wernt tolerated in Britain precisely because their sect was so intolerant. They wanted to hang animals for adultery and all sorts.

This twisted idea of 'religious freedom' has plagued it ever since, as has the inability to seperate the church from the state. As for 'The Land of the Free' rubbish- there are about 50 countries higher on the International Freedom Index and the US has a larger proportion of citizens in prison than any other country, as well as executing its own citizens still.

user1471565182 Sun 27-Sep-20 16:03:41

To put it in perspective I think its 10% of the US doesnt believe in God compared to 52% in the UK

MegCleary Tue 29-Sep-20 11:04:14

my next listen

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KenAdams Tue 29-Sep-20 12:58:52

Really @midsomermurderess? Why us asking a question stupid? I'd suggest it is in fact quite the opposite.

MegCleary Tue 29-Sep-20 17:51:00

That podcast was fascinating

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PlanDeRaccordement Tue 29-Sep-20 18:02:27

The original pilgrims were fleeing religious persecution. I’ve read William Bradford’s of Plymouth Plantation where he relates how they were imprisoned, their houses mobbed and burned, estates and goods seized etc. So they went first from England to Holland and then later to the New World.

But the later, intolerant Puritans that emigrated were not. Many confuse pilgrims with puritans.

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