Political Science Publications

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Politics and Religion

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While it is well-known that religiosity measures inform modern political alignments and voting behavior, less is known about how people of various religious orthodoxies think about the role of religion in society. To learn more about this veritable “black box” with respect to whether and why people connect their spiritual life to the political world, we conducted several focus groups in randomly selected Christian congregations in a mid-sized Midwestern city. Our analysis offers confirmatory, amplifying, and challenging evidence with respect to the “Three Bs” (believing, behaving, and belonging) perspective on how religion affects politics. Specifically, we show that while contemporary measures of religious traditionalism accurately reflect individuals’ partisan, ideological, and issue preferences, attitudes regarding the broad intersection of faith and politics are perhaps best understood via the presence (or absence) of denominational guidance on questions of the role of religion in society. We conclude by offering suggestions for future survey research seeking to explain the relationship between religion and politics.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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