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Religion and America’s Presidential Election

24 Aug, 2020

Brian J. Grim

As the United States moves towards the 2020 presidential election, it may seem difficult to reconcile the data showing that, on the one hand, religion is on the decline in the US, and on the other, religion is a central part not only of the Republican National Convention but also the Democratic National Convention.

However, given that Joe Biden is a regular church-goer, as are significant portions of Democrats, e.g., Black Democrats, Democrats have strategically decided to embrace their religious side in what Jack Jenkins calls an “atypically religious Democratic National Convention.”

That both parties are highlighting religion makes more sense knowing that the vast majority of Republicans (90%) and Democrats (77%) in America report believing in God (see chart). Although these data are a bit dated (Pew Research 2014), more recent data from Gallup (2017) suggest nearly 9-in-10 of all American adults believe in God.

As the campaigns go forward, one of the key issues to track is the degree to which religious freedom for all becomes a common theme, as is argued for by Andrew D. Graham. The theme I will track most closely is the degree to which the experience of America’s most successful companies in workplace religious inclusion means that the US may be at a turning point, where religious freedom is seen as a shared value rather than a divisive issue with liberals on one side and conservatives on the other.

That’s worth praying for and working towards.


Religion at the DNC (across all Days):

Religion at the RNC (Day 1):

Also: The role of religion in Trump’s presidency so far: An interactive timeline