Just to experiment, I decided to play a run where I try to keep the religious group at least a bit happy rather than just wiping them out. For context, I am not personally religious at all and never have been, but I’ve known quite a few religious people, enough to notice some common patterns. That said, if I’ve completely missed the mark on a “typical religious person”, if there is such a thing, then by all means let me know.
I wasn’t role playing a completely religious pandering run, but was keeping things within the boundaries of a politician who might say things like “I try not to let it interfere with my work, but I am ultimately a god fearing man…”. With that in mind I wasn’t going to persecute other groups to appease the religious, but I did things like cancel the human cloning grants, increased married tax allowance, and maintained the religious school subsidies. I loaded up Spain since it starts with a large chunk of religious people.
One thing I’ve found to be common among religious people is they at least talk about being charitable. Some actually are, some only talk about it, but the topic is consistently present. The first thing I went to where I found what seemed to be a missing link was charity tax relief. While this policy isn’t directly routing the money through the church, I would think that would only matter to the actual religious leaders, while the typical religious person would be happy to see their political leadership encouraging people to be charitable. I would also expect a link to be present with any policy making food more widely available, such as food stamps and free school meals. I think there’s a story about bread and fish in there somewhere. Now I know these policies already have a link to socialist opinion, however I don’t think it would be redundant to add one for the religious. Barring the televangelists (“Jesus will love you if you give me your money!”) I’ve found that a typical religious person does tend to have attitudes which many would describe as socialist, they just also don’t typically want a big government. I find the religious focus on this topic is about getting help to those most in need, where the typical socialist attitude tends to focus on the method of a big, government controlled centralized program. This difference in focus would make it make sense to model their opinions differently. The religious would align with the socialists on topics like food stamps, but religious people would not be impressed by a state telecoms company.
The other topic which seems to be missing many links is family. I’m not talking about the Fast & Furious kind of family either, I mean mum, dad and the kids. Many policies which relate to family should include a religious opinion link. The married tax allowance pleasing the religious is good, but I would add links from child benefit and maternity leave. I’m pretty sure I could talk something up about “after 9 months of hard work a mother is owed a bit of Sabbath…”. The one which should actually annoy the religious would be child care provision. A government run day care would be seen as the government trying to break up the family. As much as supporting families would be seen as good, there is also an emphasis on respecting somebody else’s family as autonomous, that outside forces shouldn’t interfere with somebody else’s family. Childcare provision would be seen as the government trying to usurp the role of the family.
Playing for the religious vote doesn’t interfere with the environmental policy front, which makes sense. I could probably talk up some “God’s green Earth” speeches if I needed to.
That’s what I’ve got for now. Again, this is written from the perspective of somebody who is not religious and never has been, so if I missed the mark do let me know. A number of voter groups in this game are unfairly presented as antagonists, and I felt this one was worth a bit of writing up.