According to the Pew Research Center, about 60 percent of Texans say religion is important in their lives. That can likely affect voting.
To begin to understand the importance faith plays in public life in Texas, look no further than the state legislature. The days begin with a prayer and on the wall it says, “In God We Trust.”
“Separation of church and state is different from the separation of religion from public life. The constitution intends church and state to be institutionally separate, but people of faith are always going to bring their religious convictions into the political order because it shapes their concept of what is right, what is wrong,” said Matthew Wilson, associate professor of political science at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Wilson knows the relationship well. He has authored a book about politics and religion and teaches a class on the subject matter.
“Religion affects the way that many of the voters perceive the world ought to be. And so, therefore, they bring pressure to bare on their legislators, to advance their conception of the good society, and the good life that derives from religion. On things like marriage, on things like human life, on things like family relation, also on school books, the way religion is talked about in history texts, sometimes in science texts, in social studies texts, ” he added.
The Pew Research Center also reports 77 percent of Texans are Christians.
The majority religion can influence state politics.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was elected in 2013 by an overwhelming majority. Before that, he served as the state’s attorney general defending a suit challenging the presence of a religious monument at the state capitol.
“A lot of people know that…