HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Religion & Spirituality » Religion (Group) » Robert Putnam: How the re...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 02:41 PM

Robert Putnam: How the religious/secular divide polarizes America

Monday, December 03, 2012
By Marylynne Pitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In the mostly peaceful decade of the consumerist 1950s, 60 percent of Americans attended religious services weekly. But in 1966, a Time magazine cover story asked, "Is God Dead?"

By then, a religious and political earthquake had split the nation in half. Americans questioned their government's authority by repeatedly protesting the Vietnam War and sexual norms changed rapidly, said Robert D. Putnam, co-author of "American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us."

The aftershocks reverberate today, the Harvard University public policy professor told an audience of nearly 250 people during a speech Saturday night at Temple Sinai in Squirrel Hill.

"America has become more polarized because some people are quite religious and others are quite secular. Obama got the secular vote. Romney got the religious vote," Mr. Putnam said.

http://old.post-gazette.com/pg/12338/1281265-51.stm

8 replies, 997 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 02:47 PM

1. His historical view on how this polarization has occurred is good, but

it doesn't have to be polarizing. There is significant cross-over and shared values. I agree with him that the "nones", and those specifically who see themselves as spiritual or religious but unaffiliated, could have an enormous impact on this.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cbayer (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 03:27 PM

2. I look for the political gain to be made by these forced alignments.

Religions have been used for political purposes for centuries. Secularism and atheism are no less susceptible to such manipulation.

Poltical union regardless of belief or nonbelief is the surer way to achieve political progress.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 04:17 PM

3. His religious/secular divide in regards politics today is oversimplified, imo.

"America has become more polarized because some people are quite religious and others are quite secular. Obama got the secular vote. Romney got the religious vote," Mr. Putnam said.


Obama won overwhelming majorities among African American, Latino and Asian voters. A lot of them are religious.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pinto (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 05:37 PM

5. I can't disagree with that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 04:22 PM

4. My values are the opposite of those of my rural neighbors.

I favor education. That was my parents' highest value: They told me I'm brilliant and i'm going to college, and if I want to they might send me to grad school as well.

My neighbors: Ignorant and proud of it. Education is bad. I learned about the Bible at a Christian college from Christian professors, and that's bad. They home school their kids because the outside world is evil and corrupting. You are not supposed to ask questions and challenge the preacher's authority.

I favor rationality and facts. They rely on faith and prayer and ignore facts.

Example:Lady at the bank who has a BS in math, discusses higher math with hubby. She told him the other day she didn't believe in evolution and "didn't want to discuss it". And this is one of the college educated in our town.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Manifestor_of_Light (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:57 PM

7. That insularity is so disheartening. Yet, their choice. And a minority of the public, fwiw.

We hear about the extremes, the edges because they make news. Much of it combative.

I really enjoyed watching CNN's ongoing "Heroes" series. Folks on the edge in many different ways yet decidedly not insular, combative or dismissive. Just the opposite. Found it a great counterpoint to some of the other stuff.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pinto (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:41 AM

8. The majority of the public where I live, as far as I can tell.

This is anecdotal evidence, but it's my experience.



I think my county voted 74% for Romney. And Texas went for Romney too.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rug (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:35 PM

6. I'd like to see his research on the subject.

My recollection of the 60s is that it divided the country; but that included dividing the religious. The civil rights movement and the anti-war movement had religious people on both sides of them. Roe v Wade seemed to be the big dividing point between religious and secular. But that's just my recollection; it'd be interesting to read more detail of what Putnam has to say and what he bases it on.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread