Inside Media: The Politics of Faith
Guest: Ray Suarez
"The God gap is closing, but religion and morality still have a strong influence on the public's political attitudes," said Ray Suarez, senior correspondent for "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."
Voters today are less inclined to "link religious piety with competency" when evaluating the leadership qualities of political candidates, he added.
Suarez made those comments before a capacity audience during the "Inside Media" program May 10, 2008, where he discussed his book "The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America."
Suarez said the public has differing impressions of the presidential candidates' religious affiliations. He cited a recent poll that showed that one in eight Americans disapprove of Obama because they think he is a Muslim, while many press reports chided him for being the wrong kind of Christian. Suarez said it was "unfair to slam him for both."
He said that today's voters seem to be less inclined to subject candidates to the types of religious litmus tests they held them to in the past. He noted that both the left and the right seem to be "willing to make alliances across political and religious lines."
"Inside Media," produced by the Newseum and held in the Knight Studio, is open to the public. Seating is on a space-available basis.