Despite the depiction of Conservative Protestants by the media, by frightened liberals, and by the conservative leadership as if they were a massive and disciplined religio-political voting block, they are not.
Indeed, we have argued, this image is a stereotype based on overgeneralization and prejudice.
A lot of questions spring from one overlooked fact.
A generation ago white Conservative Protestants were New Deal Democrats.
Is there anything “natural” or logical about the apparent link—however weak it may be—between conservative religion and conservative politics?
Or does it result from the strife introduced into American society by the civil rights movement, the resulting play of the race card by Richard Nixon, and subsequent attack on big government of the Reagan era and the ongoing struggle between religion and “secular humanism?
Are they not a quarter of all Conservative Protestants?
Finally, the additional vote of Conservative Protestants for Republican candidates, over and above that of Mainline American Protestants, is meager—about seven percentage points.
It is also a dangerous image because it marginalizes a major segment of American society because of inadequate information, bad information, or often no information at all.
There may be a link between Conservative Christian religious convictions and political behavior but it is modest, even by social science standards.
Thus, while 52 percent of lower-income, white, Conservative Protestants voted Democratic in the 199OS, 90 percent of lower-income Afro-American Protestants did.
In the 2004 election those numbers were 22 percent and 96 percent, respectively.