Religion’s place in the current US socio-political system: a role of think tanks

Think tanks have significant impact on policy through religious aspects

Religious organizations had a considerable impact on the US political system functioning, RISS expert Ilya Kravchenko underscored in the analytical article of RISS journal “National Strategy Issues” №5 (56). The recent tendencies point to their growing numbers, and Trump’s victory in the 2016 election has drawn more attention to the issue in the political discourse. "The majority of American voters do not want a president who is an Atheist. The US President-Elect usually takes an oath on the Bible instead of the Constitution during his inauguration. The religious affiliations of US presidents can affect their electability and support by religious organizations," he said.

According to the expert, US presidents had contributed to equating their religious affiliation with the protection of Americans' interests. Now everyone who wants to become the head of the White House has to spend significant resources investing in religious organizations. This has led to the fact that Сonservatives and Republicans have become synonyms to Evangelicals and Christian Conservatives. At the same time, Democrats hold the hearts of the majority of Catholics.

RISS expert drew attention to the fact that there was a decrease in the level of religiosity among youth in the US. On the one hand, young Americans point to the Europeanization of life in the country. Having resisted secularism for a long time, the United States finally embraces it. On the other hand, US citizens are dissatisfied with the current institutional forms of religion, but they still need to consult with Confessors.

Religious discontent among youth means that progressives do not have the support of the new generation, which is comparable to the strong support of religious conservatism by older Americans. Because of the low level of religiosity, most of the Millennial generation do not identify with either religious progressivism or conservatism. "US religious organizations will have to find ways to establish a dialogue with both religious and more secular Americans," I.Kravchenko pointed out.

In expert's opinion, religious organizations had a great role in shaping the current US political agenda. They use a variety of methods and means which lobbyists and think tanks practice to influence the political decision making process. For this purpose, think tanks hold special conferences on religion and politics and take part at congressional hearings. A lot of the working meetings are attended by representatives of leading religious groups with a great influence. "Think tanks have significant impact on policy making through religious aspects. This trend will increase worldwide in the future. There will also be a dramatic increase in the involvement of religious associations in the expert and political sphere," RISS expert underscored.

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