America Only Seems Polarized

We're still a country full of political moderates


Barack Obama held out hope of overcoming partisan divides, lowering the temperature, and bringing Americans together. How's that working out? Not well, it appears. One year after he was elected, Americans look more polarized than ever.

In a special House election in upstate New York, a Conservative Party candidate, backed by Sarah Palin, took on a moderate Republican whom his supporters called a "radical leftist," forced her to withdraw, and then lost to the Democrat. It's entirely possible that in the Senate, not a single Republican will vote for an administration-supported health insurance overhaul.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), laments that "it makes news when Democrats and Republicans do something of substance together and that truly is a shame." From cable TV news channels, you get the impression of a country not so much politically divided as verging on civil war.

Here's a solution to that problem: Stop watching cable TV news channels and listening to politicians. Using them as a gauge of how divided we are is like using the National Hockey League to estimate the level of violence in America.

Most Americans aren't rabid liberals or fanatical conservatives. Gallup recently found that more people call themselves conservative than liberal or moderate. But other polls contradict it. According to a 2008 survey by the National Opinion Research Center, when you give them more options—extremely liberal, liberal, slightly liberal, moderate, slightly conservative, conservative, or extremely conservative—you find that the largest ideological group is moderates, with 37.3 percent compared to 34.5 percent for the three conservative groups combined.

Add up the moderates and those who are only slightly liberal or slightly conservative and those who don't know—those clustered in the middle of the road—and you've got about two-thirds of the citizenry. As political scientists Morris Fiorina of Stanford's Hoover Institution and Samuel Abrams of Harvard put it, "the American electorate in 2008 is much better described as centrist than polarized."

Moreover, they note in a forthcoming paper, the public is not getting more polarized. "In terms of their ideological orientations," they note, "the American electorate looks about the same as it did when Democrat Jimmy Carter defeated Republican Jerry Ford in the not very polarized 1976 election"—Carter being conservative by Democratic standards and Ford moderate by GOP standards of the day.

So why does everything feel so bitterly divided? One reason is that the elected officials of the two major parties have definitely gotten more ideologically uniform. A generation ago, we had liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats, two species that are nearly extinct. In 1965, half of House Republicans voted in favor of creating Medicare. No such mass crossover this time.

Among ordinary people who identify with one party or the other, however, there is far more diversity of views than among either party's leaders. Gun owners and evangelical Christians are supposed to be repelled by elitist liberal Democrats, but Fiorina and Abrams report that nearly 40 percent of gun owners voted for Obama, along with more than a quarter of white evangelical Protestants. Though Republicans are the anti-abortion party, one-third of Democrats are closer to the GOP position than to that of their own party.

Strictly ideological parties mean most people have little choice but to vote for ideologues. Faced with a liberal Democrat and a conservative Republican, write Abrams and Fiorina, voters "tend to vote for the candidate on their side of the spectrum, although they might well have preferred more moderate choices."

Another reason for the acidic climate is the rise of cable TV networks that thrive by taking ideological sides, day in and day out. Twenty years ago, they didn't exist. Today, watching Fox News, you get the impression that huge numbers of Americans regard Obama as a Stalinist. Switch on MSNBC, and you would assume that most people want Dick Cheney sent to Guantanamo.

You would be mistaken. Fox News averages just 2.6 million viewers on a typical weeknight, or less than 1 percent of Americans. MSNBC does even worse, with 831,000 per night. The three major network newscasts, which offer less overt bias, pull in a combined total of more than 20 million viewers each evening.

The average American citizen, contrary to myth, is neither very angry, nor very far to the left or the right, nor inclined to treat anyone with different opinions as a mortal enemy. In a cluttered media environment, the most extreme voices tend to attract so much attention that it's easy to forget something important: Most people aren't listening.


NEXT: Going Downhill

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  1. So there’s no hope for a party that relies on ideological purity and rigidity, like the Libertarians?

    1. I don’t know about the Libertarians, but libertarianism is not even on that left/right spectrum. This crap about polarization is just more of the same BS dialectic that channels people in safe directions and challenges nothing fundamentally. Supposedly you have the tea partiers and birthers and Glen Beck and Palin on the right and Obama and the crew of MSNBC on the left and it’s all a charade. And just as is intended, the people who actually support liberty are marginalized.

    2. At least one knows what they’re getting when they vote libertarian.

      Conservative’s new rallying call is FREEDOM, but let’s not forget that the hallmarks of the last conservative government were; foreign adventurism, massive expansion law enforcement
      (patriot act), intervention of the fed into local schools, politically based prosecution(see Mary Beth Buchanan),senior drug program,and erosion of civil liberties(wiretaps etc). No tea parties then. The liberals then ran against these policies, that they themselves voted for.

      The liberals claim on the other hand to be the side for racial equality, but the policies they enact and perpetuate have had an devastating effect on minorities, particularly urban minorities, in this country. Social welfare programs, large housing projects,drug war hysteria, and failed education policies have conspired to an incarceration, in the metaphoric as well as literal sense, of whole generations of minorities. These groups could be excelling but, instead, are languishing.

      Also, both sides have enough cop-lust in they’re hearts to scare any right thinking human.

      Libertarians will offer you neither safety or security. They will offer something of infinitely more importance; the ability to live your life as you see fit. No pandering, patriotism, or prayer can make beat that.

      Post Script, If I see Sarah Palin on the same page of Ayn Rand one more time I will puke in my pants.

      1. It’s weird too, because a lot of people regard libertarian politicians as highly intelligent. For instance, many Congressmen thought of Ron Paul, not just as Dr. No, but as one of the most well-reasoned persons in the Congress.

        Why is it that the more intelligent people aren’t being elected?

        1. Look at who is doing the voting: morons.

  2. “The average American citizen, contrary to myth, is neither very angry”

    This is patently untrue. There is a palpable and widespread anger, and it results precisely because there is a large degree of moderation but no good political choices to express that.

    The only supposed “moderates” we have now are those nanny-statists who want to get into a little bit of our pocketbooks and a little bit of our bedrooms.

    People want a libertarian-leaning alternative, not a mixture of statism.

    1. Tony and Chad being two glaring examples of the opposite view…

  3. Yes, I think a lot of people are angry, and I wouldn’t frame the independents as “moderate”, as we’ve come to understand moderates in politics. I think they are diverse with a few main political concerns that are unifying them — an over-reaching government, taxes, unemployment, corporate cronyism, and corruption.

  4. This entire article misses the mark. Most Americans may indeed be ‘moderates’, but by definition these so-called middle of the road voters don’t really care a whole lot about issues one way or another. They also don’t really turn out to vote in high numbers in anything but historical elections.

    Those ‘who do turn out’ at the polls are usually highly motivated on each ends of their respective political spectrum.

    So if the country is still ‘full of political moderates’ it only makes a difference if they are politically active and vote – which they don’t very often or very well.

    1. What Publius said

    2. I would argue that the defintion of moderate is plastic. If we were to make a scale of, say, 1-20 representing political beliefs for issues then combining the score to give a place on the ideological spectrum, then assign support/opposition a number, a moderate could be viewed as an extremist.

      An example; 1=extremely conservative
      20=extremely liberal
      numbers are arbitrarily chosen, neither one is good, or bad.
      If you are for total reproductive rights that would be a 20. If you are for total second amendment rights that would be a 1. Your average then would be a 10.5, a whitebread moderate numerically with extreme views.

      Caring about issues and having someone to vote for that you agree with are not the same thing.
      Why vote for some shitbag just so you can be “politically active”.

      Btw, they have these tests and I am a moderate.

  5. It’s “The Underdog Theory” at work:…..eory/7922/

  6. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), laments that “it makes news when Democrats and Republicans do something of substance together and that truly is a shame.”

    Yes, when the Republicans and Democrats do something together, it is truly a shame.

    1. “Allow me to explain how our federal government works. To begin with, by the federal government I mean Democrats and Republicans working together. And the only thing dumber than a Democrat or a Republican is when those pricks work together.” – Lewis Black

  7. Most people aren’t listening.

    That may be true. Much of the population apparently has neither the capacity nor inclination to listen. However, the number of people who *are* listening increases daily, and many (most?) of them either already “get it” or are starting to wake up. Here’s to critical mass in 2010.

  8. I really have to take exception to the main point of this article. There are more Canadians and Europeans than Americans playing in the NHL.

    1. That’s why hockey is so violent.

  9. If you really want to emphasize the points where most Americans agree, then instead of covering the candidates who are most like or unlike us, start paying attention to the half of the American people who don’t vote.

    You can even spin their message for them if you like! You can call it “Leave us alone”, “I have more important things to do” or a vote for “None of the above”. Spin it anyway you like, but half of the American people make their voices heard clearly every election and hardly anyone reports a thing.

  10. Steve Chapman is a dope.


    the end.

  11. The problem is that this doesn’t matter you only need a minority that is really angry to fundamentally change things. Look at the American Revolution only a third of the people wanted independence another third preferred Britain and the last third “moderates” didn’t really have an opinion either way.

  12. “capital l” and “Publius” just wrote comments that were more descriptive of what is going on than Steve Chapman’s milk toast idiot article. Steve, have you ever heard a c ritique of the false left-right paradigm? if not then your so ignorant it is hard to figure out how you are employed…if so then give us a article explaining why the common libertarian left-right critique is silly/wrong/lacking…because you are on the level with Newsweek and Time magazine in your doltish political commentary.

  13. Is milk toast like milk steak, but for breakfast?

    How can you have no idea how to spell the word, yet still use it correctly in a sentence? Did you go to school via teleconference?

    1. So you’re not even going to try to educate? 😛

      The word is: “Milquetoast

      1. In all fairness, Wiki does credit the matt2 spelling as the “faux french” (as an aside, shouldn’t they say foe-french)?

        1. My bad, Gabe was the original poster of said spelling. blah, doesnt matter

        2. I am not French and will not stand for a slur like that.

  14. I’m not going to rtfa, but I suspect the great majority of people that read opinion pieces like his are a hell of a lot angrier than he thinks.

  15. 1.
    Did you learn how to spell milk toast in your college? if so you are the one that went to a shit college.

    2.Urban dictionary 2: “milk toast -spineless, having no backbone.
    rachel did exactly what she was told and never stood up for herself, thus she was milk toast. ”

    so suck it, it is a pretty common way to spell it. If you want the frenchy version of spelling then you are free to do so. This blog is for exchanging ideas not spelling debates.

    1. Seriously though… Urban dictionary ? Actual dictionary.

    2. Okay, matt2 was blunt, but he’s just trying to provide an ache horn of wisdom. On-line, how you spell is how you present yourself. Citing the Urban Dictionary was an interesting move, but I think you’d better just tow the lion.

      1. I’m a filet-me liberal who arrived here through a friends Facebook, but after reading this little aside, Maurkov’s reply in particular, I just had to register and post. Thanks for the laugh M, the ironing was just delicious.

        Everyone should sign up for Urban Dictionary’s Word of the Day, check out this erudite entry!

  16. Chapman should go to work for the department of homeland security and tell them that extremist ron paul supporters are really just moderates and not to worry.

  17. I am genuinely curious as to how you knew how to use the word but fucked it up so badly. Maybe you are blind, or you exclusively listen to audiobooks. Who knows?

    But if you run to Urban Dictionary to defend your mangled attempt at phonetic spelling, the explanation is probably simpler than I’d thought, you fucking moron.

    1. LOL

  18. I agree with the thesis, in part. Individual districts may lean strongly one way or another, but it’s true that the American people taken as a whole are not highly ideological. We’re generally a moderate and pragmatic people that mostly wants to go with ideas that will work.

    I do disagree with the part about the anger. There is most definitely a lot of anger and fear about the future in the country right now, and not without justification. If you doubt this, all you have to do is look at what’s happening to the market price of gold, which is by far the best indicator out there for economic fear.

  19. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), laments that “it makes news when Democrats and Republicans do something of substance together and that truly is a shame.” – Lindsey Graham

    “A republican stands up in congress and says ‘I GOT A REALLY BAD IDEA!!’ and the democrat stands up after him and says ‘AND I CAN MAKE IT SHITTIER!!'”
    ? Lewis Black

  20. ok i do have aspergers…we don’t care about spelling, but still I’m sticking with the urban dictionary defense…and it truly is a sign of a dumbass to get caught up on spelling

  21. The article cites a couple experts (one from Hoover Institute and one from Harvard):

    ‘”the American electorate looks about the same as it did when Democrat Jimmy Carter defeated Republican Jerry Ford in the not very polarized 1976 election”?Carter being conservative by Democratic standards and Ford moderate by GOP standards of the day.’

    This is presented as good news: We may *look* polarized, but we’re no more divided than during the 1976 Presidential election.

    Was 1976 really a good political year? The voters faced a choice between two big-government candidates, one of whom didn’t think Poland was a Soviet satellite and the other of whom founded the Department of Education. Meanwhile, the country suffered from stagflation and disco.

    Maybe Carter and Ford *should* have taken a more polarized approach to the issues. At least Americans would have had some real choices about the real problems of the country.

    We’re supposed to see 1976 as an ideal political situation? We’re supposed to be reassured that we have as much consensus today as we did then?

    I happen to agree that there’s a lot of consensus between the two major parties (at least their current leadership) – consensus on bad ideas. Consensus on the basic soundness of the welfare/warfare state (at least that it would not be expedient to challenge it). Consensus that the system just needs a few tweaks and things will be OK. Consensus that the reason our beautiful welfare/warfare state isn’t working properly isn’t because of systemic causes, but because the Wrong People are in charge (if you’re a Republican), or that the minority is obstructing you (if you’re a Democrat).

    To be sure, there are differences between the parties, and the cable screamers specialize in exaggerating these differences. There is a real difference over abortion, for instance, though on the Republican side this doesn’t seem to translate into a frontal assault on the culture of death, and many Republican leaders see abortion as a distraction from the important issue of getting Republicans elected (like that ScuzzyFlavor woman in New York).

    But outside of abortion, let’s look at the way a typical dispute gets spun by the cable screamers. The Democrats file a bill to increase, by 10%, the budget of the Department of Spending (on top of the 10% increase that was approved during the Bush Administration). The Republicans file an alternative bill to increase the budget by 8%. The Democratic cable hosts scream that the Republicans are free-market fundamentalists, otherwise they would have supported a 10% increase rather than a miserly 8%. The Republican cable hosts denounce the Democrats as socialists because of the 10% increase, while discreetly omitting discussion of the Republican 8%.

    Then a ‘moderate’ comes along and says, “Enough of this ideological extremism! Let us have a compromise bill to increase the budget of the Department of Spending by 9%. Such a compromise reflects the essential moderation of the American people, who aren’t polarized like the politicians in Washington.”

  22. And yes milk steak is my favorite food. I ordered it at smith and wolinskis last week.

  23. Milk toast’s soft blandness served as inspiration for the name of the timid and ineffectual comic strip character Caspar Milquetoast, drawn by Harold Webster from 1924 to 1952. The term “milquetoast” has since adopted a new meaning: a timid, shrinking, apologetic person.

    I get it your some kinda comic book afficionado? you guys are dicks, just like that guy in the store on the simpsons.

    suck my milk toast

    1. Too bad you went and sighted Urban Dictionary before perusing the more reputable internets.

  24. In defense of Gabe, Milquetoast is a name of a character whose personality resembled milk toast. While milquetoast became the spelling for blandness, it is still metaphorically accurate to use milk toast as an adjective.

  25. It is NOT a myth that the RNC and GOP politicians are becoming less tolerant of moderates in their own party.
    But, yes, for the average person, the polarization is just not there for what we see in the news.
    Polls also show that when you give people choices about ISSUES (rather than pigeonhole monikers) they tend to be center/skewed-left. Bi-polar polls that ask “conservative or liberal” are skewed just to the right. A plurality of the country is moderate. But I don’t think that is true in the GOP’s ranks over the past 8 years.

  26. “Barack Obama held out hope of overcoming partisan divides, lowering the temperature, and bringing Americans together.”

    Only to those non-Progressives who didn’t vet him.

    To those who vetted the Indonesian, it was obvious. 18 months ago what was going to happen if he became elected POTUS.

    1. WHOA! Hold up, how long have you been posting as John Galt 1776?

    2. Only to those non-Progressives who didn’t vet him.

      I can forgive honest mistakes from well-meaning people who didn’t do their due diligence that they should have.

      But I am far less sympathetic to people who still insist on remaining in a state of denial about the true nature of Obama and his associates in spite of all the evidence that’s now in.

  27. Ok, so on topic, I actually made a similar point to some folks the other day as Chapman’s article here.

    But mostly it was related to the fact that the liberals I know whine endlessly about how powerful an agent provocateur Fox News is. And then I pointed out that at their peak, Fox only managed to garner around 3 million viewers a night. And of course, if you stack them up against the rest of the news media, which generally presents an “opposing” view from Fox (by which I mean, instead of supporting big government Republicans, they support big government Democrats) Fox vs. alternative news sources pretty well balance out. The thing a lot of people on the left still don’t seem to grasp is that Fox is the only mainstream news source with a “conservative” ideological bent – so it’s not Fox vs. MSNBC vs. CNN vs. CBS, etc… But rather, Fox vs. MSNBC+CNN+CBS+ABC+Etc. So if the ideological view of news consumers is split around the same way the average American’s views are, one might expect that Fox gets half (ish) of the market for news and everything else combined (which are competing for each other within the same ideological territory), gets the other half.

    But in either case, all combined, total ratings for news consumption wind up being all of 6-7 million people a night. Total.

    So what… 2-3% of the American public?? Certainly seems like the majority of Americans are wildly polarized.

    What really gets me, however, is that no one pays attention to the philosophies presented in most Television programs & Movies. That’s where our intellectual debates are really being framed, because that’s where people ARE actually watching (and in a format which discourages critical thinking to begin with). And so shows like Law and Order, where the villain is pretty much ALWAYS some kind of businessman (who are portrayed worse than murderers & rapists on average), get somewhere in the realm of 12-15 Million viewers an episode.

    The outrage is really skewed, and worrying about news is just kinda dumb to begin with.

    1. The biggest criminals ARE businessmen. The trillions we have all lost to the Wall Street goons has surely cost more lives statistically than, say, the nutjob in Cleveland who murdered 11 women, or the berserk major at Ft. Hood today.

      Murderers and rapists are chump change vs the bailout babies.

      1. Then why does Obama continue to approve bailouts?

        BTW, you think all businessmen are criminals… right? And there are no criminals in the public sector… right?

        Just checking. No need to respond to the last questions.

  28. Overall this article fails to see the truth.

    1. The Progressives run the country both in the Fed government and in the media as well as in the schools from the lowest level to the highest.

    2. Blacks, Hispanics and Gays and non-religious Jews form a big part of this radical left wing ideology and the Fed government.

    3. Conservatives though they represent 40% of the population are in positions of power in the minority of locations and today have very little if any power at all in the Federal government.

    4. The Fed government under Obama is controlling more and more of every facet of American life.

    5. As long as the country remains under the tryrannical rule of the Progressives there will continue to be a major divide between the Blacks, Hispanics, Gays, non-religous Jews and the rest of America.

    6. There is s strong possibilty that America within the the next 3 years will be faced with the major decision of expanding non-violent conscientious objection, though events like the TEA Parties, or going to a violent resistance in response to an every growing more tyrannical government and its BHGNRJ-MSM-Education Education Institution block.

    1. I hope I speak for more than myself when I say:

      1. Shut the fuck up you racist dick.
      2. Quit using the monkier “John Galt”, as it does not suit you.

      1. Aw come on, let the man speak. He tells the truth. Haven’t you ever read ‘The Protocols of the Learned Gay Black Hispanic Elders of Secular Zion’?

        Capitol l now affixes tin hat.

    2. Yeah the article forgot to mention a large percentage of the country is retarded and likes to blame everything on minorities who obviously control everything because conservatives are too timid to do anything about it. Good point.

  29. I think we’d be less polarized and have less ideological politicians if the primaries were open – ie. independents could vote in primaries

    1. Yeah, then I could use my principled non-voting to snub the primaries too!

  30. Over a hundred years ago, most Democrats were libertarian, following Jefferson, Madison to Cleveland, while 20th century Democrats follow Rousseau and Marx, as cited in THE CHANGING FACE OF DEMOCRATS (Amazon). Republicans began with Hamilton, Clay, Lincoln to Teddy R., all regarded as central government interventionists, so we have a big switch over 100 years.

  31. Whenever I see Keith Olbermann, I think of the word I learned here not too long ago – backpfeifengesicht.

    I think of the same word – only more so – when I see Chuck (spit) Schumer.

  32. Libertarians and conservatives have much more in common than Libertarians and liberals.

    In fact, the only common goal that liberals/libertarians share is possibly the legalization of pot.

    The policies that conservatives/libertarians push upon the common person are mean-spirited.

    The difference between conservatives/libertarians is that conservatives, unlike libertarians, are willing to give up civil liberties and are ok with a police state that selectively arrests and prosecutes people in an effort to obtain safetly.

    One needs safety when one is disenfranchising many people.

    If you ask me, the conservative view is more realistic.

    1. Wow, that was pointless. Who fed you your talking points?

    2. I would tend to agree with your point, but there are at least two camps of libertarians. ( Apologizing now for any hackneyed stereotypes, people ). The more universalist(re: cosmotarians) type, and then you have the more conservative (paleotarians) libertarians. The paleos tend to be more for keeping tradition and law in place, at least in personally held views as I have found. And the cosmotarians believe (from what I can see) in maximized freedom in every aspect – freedom to do what one would like without interfering in anothers’ pursuit of the same. JMO

    3. Forgot to mention – the more univeralist type of libertarian tends to be the more dominant strain of the libertarian philosophy, and also,there are plenty of conservatives who see no problem with ‘mj’ being decriminalized.

      1. Good basic overviews, this coming from someone about halfway between the two basic types you listed above.

        1. Ha-ha! Thanks. I’ve met too many corporatist republicans and ‘stuffed- shirt’ type conservatives to fit in either camp of the right. Libertarians are more freedom-oriented by FAR than the two major parties. I consider the more consequentialist segment of the libertarian philosophy more to my outlook. All the freedom ya want, but be prepared for both the positive and negative after effects of such. IMHO

    4. Alice Bowie, I must apologize in advance as I am not very smart and would appreciate you elucidating a few things for me.

      You are probably much better versed in the history and intricacies of conservative thought. Also, your understanding of the nuances of libertarian philosophy probably dwarfs mine. That is why I must ask clarification for a broad sweeping statement like; “Libertarians and conservatives have much more in common than Libertarians and liberals”. Usually such certainty is followed by an argument consisting of logic, reason, or facts but, alas, you provide nary a justification.

      Then a statement such as; “The policies that conservatives/libertarians push upon the common person are mean-spirited.”
      boggles me. Maybe there is an implied knowledge is required here but I’m a little fuzzy, forgive me. What are these mean spirited policies being pushed on the common man by conservatives/libertarians? Who is this common man, is it you? Where is the explanation for the uneducated, such as myself.

      I saw a glimmer of hope reading your post when I saw the word disenfranchising. I thought ‘this is a word I know’, but I obviously missed something, because I could find nothing in the annals of libertarian musings that advocates denying the rights of citizenship to certain groups. Do you know what disenfranchise means?

      A prompt an appropriate response would be appreciated, if unexpected.

      Post Script, Glam rock makes me fucking ill.

      capitol l

  33. America is not the least bit polarized. You can tell by this blog.

    What is really bad is the fact that people insist on name calling. Calling the other side morans.

    No one has any respect for other’s opinions.

    1. Hang in there, but get used to it, Alice. Most people who become libertarians for the love of personal freedom also have to develop a tough skin, I’ve learned. It is, in my opinion, fun to shoot back once in a while. 😉

    2. Keep spelling morons wrong and everyone will want to know what you are thinking Aristotle

      1. I believe Alice was using ‘morans’ ironically, as a reference to the iconic photo.…;start=0

        1. If we just made English America’s offical language these misunderstandings would not happen.

          Post script, The guy in that picture is St.Louis catcher Jason LaRue.

        2. You sir, are fantastic.

  34. If by “moderates” you mean people that have no real beliefs and will vote for the person with better hair, or who can read a clever line from a teleprompter, or has a staff who can make a good emotional TV spot full of half-truths, then yes, moderates are the majority.

  35. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets..

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