Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nature vs. nurture reconsidered

I listened to a blurb on National Public Radio the other day, in which a reporter visited a traditionally Catholic Ohio neighborhood and asked its residents about their voting intentions for the US presidency.

It got me thinking. True, it is sometimes a mistake and even can lead to terrible evils, to stereotype an entire religious culture as thinking or acting in one predictable way. But there are some patterns that do emerge and it makes me wonder: do people tend to develop their political outlook because of their religious backgrounds or do people tend to adopt a religion because it fits more comfortably with their inner political/cultural feelings?

And then what happens if they convert to another faith? If a lapsed Catholic becomes a fiery Evangelical, do their probable laissez faire politics get born again as well? Out West, for example, Mormons are known as a very conservative group, reliably Republican, pro-life, etc. Yet the current Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid, who does not fit that bill at all, is a Mormon -- although an adult convert to the faith.

2 comments:

Janice Thomson said...

I would think it would be a combination of both tending more towards your beliefs - at least that's how I would vote. I also think that every religion has it's good points AND bad hence voting strictly by your religious beliefs could lead to trouble. This also begs that eternal question, do you vote for the party or for the man?

eastcoastdweller said...

Janice: I think we need a new political party in the US -- the donkey and the elephant have had their day and have gotten quite long in the tooth.

But how to break their stranglehold?