Although not with the intensity that is typical on the banks of the Tiber, in the United States the relationship between religions (the plural is necessary) and politics also becomes tighter as the elections approach. However, one has the impression that while religions still are important, their influence is declining. All are more or less in crisis except Islam. Some facts, among the most significant:
The largest group is still the Protestants, even though this number is falling (51%). This is followed by the Catholics at 25%, then the communities of Mormons, Jews, Muslims, etc. In huge growth, day after day, are the Americans who don’t identify with any religion. More or less like here at home.
In the last two presidential elections, Republican Bush, of Baptist faith, was supported not only by Baptists, but by a large number of rather conservative Protestants and Catholics.
And this time? It seems that the same group of Christians prefers a Democratic candidate (Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton) also, because the Republican candidate McCain is accused of having pronounced himself against the sacredness of life and of not having defended embryos, of not having led a decisive battle against gay culture and of adopting scurrilous language associated with a bad character.
However, one must not forget the Baptists such as Jimmy Carter, decidedly in favor of the rights of minorities and of justice in the world.
In the United States, therefore, as here in Italy, the influence of religion in political choices is also markedly strong but ambiguous.
A case to analyze separately is that of Islam.