In an interview with Duke University’s “Faith & Leadership,” I spoke about trends in religious research that will become increasingly important, including growing numbers of interreligious families and the rise of the religiously unaffiliated. I also cautioned against ignoring mainline Protestants in the larger conversation about religion and politics. As I noted:
What I think is important to remember is that the mainline Protestants still make up 17 percent or so of the country. That’s a sizable population to pay attention to. They tend to vote even at numbers slightly higher than that, so they’re a fairly reliable set of voters. Both parties should not be writing them off — not only because of their size but because they tend to be one of two religious groups in the American religious landscape that are divided between the two parties. Historically, mainline Protestants were a bedrock Republican constituency, but that’s been moving into more of a Democratic constituency. They voted for Romney. They voted for McCain, but barely. So they’re a constituency that’s very interesting in the American religious landscape. They also are heavily represented in swing states: Missouri, Pennsylvania, Minnesota — the Midwest heartland where elections are won or lost.
Read the full interview online at “Faith & Leadership.”