Click the pic to go to an article about the US religion map.
When I was a kid, the Catholics were Democrats and the Baptists got abortions. Once the right-to-life movement pulled in the born-agains, a natural alliance between the Catholics and southern Protestants emerged (see map for why this alliance kicks ass).
In addition to the bloody red Baptists, the Religious Right has the Mormons, the Latino Catholics, and a lot of the working class Catholics in New England who resonate to the family values stuff even though they're not interested in the Rapture business.
The Catholic Church has watched the growth of happy-clappy fundamentalism in the US while more liberal flavors of Christianity have been dying away. I think they want some of that market share. So they've moved right. They've toughened up the rules. They got a pre-Vatican II Pope and brought back the Latin Mass for the elites. Woo to follow, I reckon. You need Holy Spirit woo to keep the peoples turned on and tuning in.
But this crazy, dominionist, when-can-we-bomb-Iran voting block has to be stopped. It's not good for anyone in the long run, including the Church.
It's possible the Church might take the high road, skipping the mysticism and authoritarianism in favor of a more rational, anti-poverty and pro-social justice message. This likely will disrupt the current alliance between Catholics and the Republicans... and so save us all.
Dumbass Douthat and the clueless conservative perspective - Good god, but the most appalling morons can find a comfortable sinecure on the opinion pages of that blithe harbor for the right-wing tropes of the bourgeo...
3 hours ago