The religion-free election of 2010 (updated)

Now that the midterm voting is over, the news media can focus on what's really important: What do Tuesday's results mean for Democrats and Republicans in the general election two years from now?

Sorry, couldn't resist that attempt at humor.

As tmatt noted yesterday, religion was not supposed to be a major factor in the elections this time around. But for GetReligion readers starved for a day-after faith angle or two, we'll do our best to pick up a few crumbs.

Via the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life comes this preliminary analysis:

Two of the largest religious groups in the electorate followed the same basic voting patterns in the 2010 elections for the U.S. House of Representatives as they have in prior elections: white Protestants voted overwhelmingly Republican and religiously unaffiliated voters cast their ballots overwhelmingly for Democrats. But Catholic voters, who had favored Democratic over Republican candidates by double-digit margins in the last two congressional elections, swung to the GOP in 2010. And within all three of these major religious groups, support for the Republican Party rose this year compared with 2006, matching or exceeding their levels of support for the GOP in any recent election. Republican gains among religious groups parallel the party's broad-based gains among the overall electorate and white voters in particular.

See more of Pew's early look.

Meanwhile, the fine folks at ReligionLink -- who do such a magnificent job of keeping Godbeat writers on top of current trends -- already have weighed in with an Election 2010 roundup:

The 2010 midterm congressional elections promised to reshape the political landscape, and they did just that, as Republicans swept to victory in the House while cutting deeply into the Democratic majority in the Senate. But the vote also recast the terrain on moral and social issues important to believers of all political persuasions.

Among the hot-button issues likely to be affected are abortion rights and gay rights, for example. But economic issues galvanized religiously minded voters just as they did the entire American electorate this year, and debates over those matters are likely to be heated -- questions such as whether or what spending should be cut or raised, and whether or what taxes ought to be cut or raised.

Arguments over who in society will bear the brunt of the cuts, or be the beneficiaries of the expenditures, are likely to divide liberal and conservative believers sharply.

Check out the full roundup for much more insight.

Speaking of gay rights, our friends at Christianity Today report that Iowa voters ousted three Supreme Court justices who legalized same-sex marriage in 2009. CT also provides news on other political items, such as California rejecting an initiative to legalize marijuana use.

USA Today's Cathy Grossman has an interesting discussion on her blog titled, "Did you 'vote your faith' in the 2010 election?" Experts weigh in -- pro and con -- on whether Tuesday's outcome represented a victory for "values voters."

Finally, in an excellent Wednesday morning roundup, Religion News Service notes that "religion wasn't a huge issue in the 2010 midterms, but a couple of notable races stand out."

Those couple of notable races end up being nine full bullet points from RNS -- from key Senate races to the Iowa judges' ouster to the outlook for "mamma grizzly" Sarah Palin. Seriously, read the RNS post. Those nine points don't count later discussion of an abortion measure in Colorado, the prohibition of Sharia law in Oklahoma and the aforementioned recreational pot decision in California.

Like I said, religion was not supposed to be a major factor in the elections this time around.

Guess it depends on your definition of major.

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