The few, the proud

Writing on The American Prospect’s Web site, Paul Waldman says research shows that the more secular people there are in a county, the more likely that people from evangelical denominations who live there will vote Republican.

One explanation:

The idea of religious conservatives as a surrounded minority, bravely holding the battlements of morality against an onrushing tide of cultural barbarism, is more than a convenient message that conservative pastors offer to their flocks. It is a key part of how the group defines its identity. And, critically, telling people they’re under assault not only serves to keep them within the tribal borders — it lends the entire enterprise an emotionally satisfying, even epic feel. You’re not just a plumber or an insurance adjuster or a bond trader; by the very fact of believing what you do, you become a heroic warrior fighting a grand struggle against the enemies of all that is right and good.

Read it all.

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