Andrew Sullivan makes an interesting point:
Most Americans have a healthy respect for religious teaching but in their lives give greater preference to common sense and practical experience. That includes almost all religious groups as well – Catholics, in particular, show conservative tendencies. The exceptions? Evangelicals and Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses – who are trained to forego practical reasoning for abstract truths based on unquestionable authority. Evangelical Christians are much less conservative than American Muslims, for example.
The Republican party is not, at this point in time, a conservative party, as Burke would understand it. It’s a fundamentalist religious party. Until the influence of evangelicals and Mormons is reduced, it will find these tendencies reinforce each other.