By AMANDA MARCOTTE
Despite all the posturing by conservatives about how their movement represents “real” America and liberal political attitudes are restricted mainly to the “coastal elite,” new research from the Public Religion Research Institute suggests that, at least in political terms, most Americans are secular in their orientation. While many Americans may still hold conservative personal beliefs, when it comes to the issue of church-state separation, large majorities are rejecting efforts by the religious right to use the power of the state to impose conservative Christian values on others.
In fact, the polling data shows there’s really only one group of Americans that rejects a secular society: white evangelical Christians. And this study is just further evidence that a lot of the political polarization in our country is the direct result of white evangelical Christians realizing that they no longer are the dominant majority and lashing out angrily in an effort to regain the levels of influence they used to enjoy.
For instance, the poll found that while a majority of Americans from all walks of life has come to embrace the rights of gay and lesbian Americans, white evangelicals remains stubbornly opposed to the gay rights movement. White evangelicals are the only category of the population to support business owners who want to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers.
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