Tea partiers are more religious than the average joe.

tp

Protestants and evangelicals are overrepresented and “nones” are underrepresented, although seven percent is higher than usual for a conservative demographic. I was all ready to be outrageously outraged when I watched the vid, as this makes two days in a row that a tea-party icon has gotten very overtly religious, but he’s not calling for social cons to co-opt the movement’s agenda. Nor is he claiming that TPers want government to push their religious views; he explicitly says that they don’t (although I am surprised to hear him imply that prayer is a more basic undercurrent of the movement than fiscal responsibility). At bottom, he’s making a sociological point that people who have lost faith in one deity will transfer their faith to another. Plenty of atheists would agree with him; even Hitchens, in “God Is Not Great,” ends up accepting religion as an evolutionary fact of life, at least for the time being. People have to believe in something, the theory goes, and if the Hopenchange welfare state turns out to be as big of a debacle as fiscal cons fear, it ain’t going to be government that they believe in. Question for DeMint, though: How does he reconcile that with the fact that most Democrats are religious too? In fact, 37 percent of those who call themselves “highly religious” identify as Dems, and blacks, Hispanics, and Jews break heavily towards the left despite the existence of strong faith communities in each group. He may be right that it’s more or less a zero-sum game in Europe between faith and statism, but in true American fashion, it looks like we’re going to try to have our cake and eat it too.