Many believe politicians talk too much faith
Politicians are speaking too much about their faith, according to a poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
By Kayla Viaud / Features Editor
April 16, 2012
Almost four-in-ten Americans, 38 percent, now say there has been too much expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders, while 30 percent say there has not been enough.
"People are tired of politicians using religion as a way of gaining votes," said Palm Beach Atlantic University professor of history and political science Jack Calhoun. Religion has become a significant factor in the GOP primary with issues like birth control and gay marriage on the agenda. "I think this study shows how important religion is for people, " said PBA campus Pastor Bernie Cueto.
The view on whether politicians should be vocal about their faith differs between political parties. Forty-six percent of Democrats believe there has been too much "expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders," while 24 percent of Republicans polled disagree.
"A politician's faith is important to me," said PBA sophomore Victoria Collins. "Whoever says religion isn't important is lying. No one would vote for an atheist president."
"I believe it is tricky for Christian politicians," said PBA freshman Shenise Howard. "They are called to spread the Gospel even if they are not the most popular, I would respect a political figure that has some type of faith."
"Character to me is a more important indicator than religion or domination," Cueto said.
"Some Christians make a mistake to look at the next president to sort of be their pastor and that's not his job," said Cueto. "We have pastors in local churches and they have to meet specific qualifications to lead and commander in chief has other qualifications."
Within the GOP, there was a divide between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum supporters. 55 percent of Santorum's supporters say there is too little expression of religious faith and prayer by political leaders. Just one in four, 24 percent, of Romney's backers agree. "I think this is because Santorum has been more vocal about his Catholic faith," said pre-law major Channing Lewis. Santorum recently suspended his presidential campaign leaving Mitt Romney as the likely GOP presidential candidate. Mitt Romney's faith has come into question because he is a Mormon. "For a long time this was a disqualifier for Romney because he was Mormon," said Calhoun. "I think the poll is saying that doesn't matter as much anymore."
"I would hate for people to simply vote for someone because of what church they attend," Cueto said in reference to the primary and upcoming election.
"Churches should stay out of politics," Lewis added.