In this breathtakingly divisive presidential race, what role have religion and race played?
That's the question the study reported on in this piece seeks to answer.
Clearly both have played a role in swaying voters to support either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, as the report notes:
"Scholars have paid close attention to the role of racial hostility in elections. However, this election has demonstrated a need to pay closer attention to the role of religious hostility as well as how the experience influences the political and social engagement of religious minorities—irrespective of the election results."
You can read the rather detailed report for yourself and see if it somehow illuminates this election in useful ways. But I want to offer two cautions before you leap into it:
First, let's remember that race is a political and social construct, not a biological reality. Humans, we now know, are roughly 99.9 percent identical when it comes to DNA. It's the remaining .1 percent that makes us individually unique. The Human Genome Project confirmed that the way people have been thinking about race for centuries is misleading at best and dead wrong at worst.
Second, some of the terminology in the study seems problematic to me. For instance, it seeks to measure whether "whites" prefer "whites" over Muslims. The reality, of course, is that Islam is, like Christianity, one of the most pluralistic religions in the world and includes "whites."
Beyond that, what does "whites" mean? Today when I'm asked my "race" on a survey of some sort, when I have a chance I answer this way: "I was brought up to believe that I'm white."
I recommend a similar response when you are faced with the question (substituting "white" for whatever is most appropriate for you). In the end, it will complicate the thinking of the pollsters, which would be a good result.
This year we have a terribly divided electorate, made so in part by appeals to racial and religious prejudices and fears. How sad in a nation that prizes equality and religious liberty.
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HEAVENLY HELP FOR THE CUBS?
The Catholic archbishop of Chicago says he's all in for the Cubs and has been "storming heaven" on their behalf. Well, we long-long-long-suffering Cubs' fans appreciate all the help we can get in the World Series against Cleveland that starts tonight. But in some ways I wish religious leaders wouldn't kid around about such matters. People sometimes take them seriously and really believe God cares who wins. If God cared about my Cubs this would not have been our 108th year of rebuilding.