Politics and Religion

Publisher: The American Political Science Association, APSA, Cambridge University Press

Description

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  • 5-year impact
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  • ISSN
    1755-0491
  • OCLC
    225884250
  • Material type
    Series, Periodical
  • Document type
    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

Cambridge University Press

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  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article combines the research strands of moral politics and political behavior by focusing on the effect of individual and contextual religiosity on individual vote decisions in popular initiatives and public referenda concerning morally charged issues. We rely on a total of 13 surveys with 1,000 respondents each conducted after every referendum on moral policies in Switzerland between 1992 and 2012. Results based on cross-classified multilevel models show that religious behaving instead of nominal religious belonging plays a crucial role in decision making on moral issues. This supports the idea that the traditional confessional cleavage is replaced by a new religious cleavage that divides the religious from the secular. This newer cleavage is characterized by party alignments that extend from electoral to direct democratic voting behavior. Overall, our study lends support to previous findings drawn from U.S. American research on moral politics, direct democracies, and the public role of religion.
    Politics and Religion 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The 19th century was a time of rapid population growth in the United States, and much of it was due to immigration from Europe. In the 1840s and 1850s, the largest proportion of immigrants came from Ireland and Germany, and most were Catholic. The Germans spread across small communities as far west as Wisconsin and Texas, but the Irish concentrated in the larger cities on the eastern seaboard, especially Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Local third- and fourth-generation Protestant immigrants from England resented the new arrivals and organized “Nativist” associations. Among these was the anti-Catholic American Party, better known as the Know Nothing Party, which enjoyed spectacular success in Massachusetts and other states during 1854–1855. But, by 1862, the party was dead. This article examines how moral panic theory, the theory of persistent cultural patterns and cycles, and revitalization theory may offer insights into the Know Nothing Party. Each of these theories explains both the emergence of the party and its rapid demise, and suggest that each can make a contribution to understanding anti-Catholicism in nineteenth-century America, and the Know Nothing Party in particular.
    Politics and Religion 09/2013; 6(03).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Analyzing a unique module of the General Social Survey, we test hypotheses that three religion dimensions — affiliation with specific religious traditions (belonging), service attendance (behaving), and religious orthodoxy (believing) are associated with compassionate feelings, and that these feelings carry over into support for government efforts to help the poor, blacks, and the sick. The religiously orthodox report more compassionate feelings toward others than do modernists and, partly because of this, are more supportive of government intervention to help the poor. Yet attending religious services frequently does not increase compassionate feelings and makes people less supportive of government efforts to help the poor. There are no differences among religious traditions in compassionate feelings, and the only difference on economic policy preferences is for Black Protestants to support government assistance to blacks. Compassionate feelings have comparable effects to political ideology and party identification on support for government assistance to the disadvantaged and misfortunate. We conclude that people of faith, variously defined, do not constitute a monolithic “Religious Right” and are potentially open to policy appeals from both political parties.
    Politics and Religion 09/2013; 6(03).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: State religions form one of the main features of the international political landscape, but scholarly research into their dynamics and effects remains limited. This article aims to address this deficiency through a comparative examination of state religions and levels of political and religious freedom. The findings show that countries with a state religion have substantially lower levels of freedom across a range of measurements than countries with no state religion. The absence of any clear correlation to levels of human development, religious diversity and religiosity indicates a key causal role for the institutional mechanics of state religion itself.
    Politics and Religion 09/2013; 6(03).
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    ABSTRACT: In the United States, Evangelical Protestants' political attitudes have been attributed to their conservative theological beliefs. As this religion's membership has increased around the world, other Evangelicals would logically be expected to demonstrate a similar conservatism in their political views. And yet, this anticipated result does not hold. In Brazil, for example, Evangelicals maintain moderate-to-liberal attitudes on several issues. To address this anomaly, this article relies on the Pew Forum's Multi-Country Religion Survey to examine the impact of religion on Evangelicals' ideology as well as attitudes on moral and economic issues in the United States and Brazil. While doctrinal orthodoxy predicts Evangelicals' moral conservatism, neither religious component examined significantly predicts Brazilian Evangelicals' ideology or economic attitudes. Significant differences in Brazilian and American attitudes on these dimensions in general suggest that the political environment plays a much larger role in whether — and how — religion influences these political attitudes.
    Politics and Religion 09/2013; 6(03).
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    ABSTRACT: Of the 45 Muslim majority countries in the world, 42 have signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. While this does indeed signal a motive to improve women's rights, there is wide disparity in terms of which countries expand rights and which do not. Social science literature suggests that in addition to economic factors like wealth and oil resources, or political factors like the quality of democracy in the country, Islamic culture may be at odds with the Western conception of women's rights. We posit that Muslim countries are unique in this regard due to religious pressures that often conflict with conventional measures of human rights. Using data from the Cingranelli-Richards Human Rights Dataset and the Religion and State Project, we find that Muslim countries that restrict the influence of fundamentalist religion in the government and population improve women's economic and social rights.
    Politics and Religion 09/2013; 6(03).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: While public opinion research has expanded rapidly in the Islamic world since 2001, little scholarly work has examined interviewer effects related to an enumerator's religious adherence. We find that the perceived religiosity of an interviewer impacts respondents' expressions of personal piety and adherence to Islamic cultural norms in a sample of approximately 1,200 women in Greater Cairo. Muslim women indicate that they are more religious and adherent to Islamic cultural norms when interviewed by an enumerator donning the Islamic headscarf. Conversely, members of Egypt's minority Coptic Christian community report that they are less adherent to Christianity when interviewed by a veiled enumerator. Through psychological processes of strategic self-presentation of identity and impression management, the veil may trigger Muslim respondents to express what they perceive to be socially desirable (i.e., more devout) responses; in contemporary Egypt, being perceived as pious may elicit social and economic benefits. Christians appear to deemphasize their religious identity to avoid appearing at odds with the dominant, Muslim majority to which the enumerator appears to belong. Younger, poorer and less educated women — who may be most susceptible to concerns about social desirability — show the largest effects.
    Politics and Religion 09/2013; 6(03).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: From 2005 to 2010, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation attempted to ban the defamation of religion internationally through a series of United Nations resolutions. Although many opposed the resolutions for their potential effects on political rights, numerous non-Muslim states supported them. What explains the dynamic of this support, especially the resolutions' religious nature and significant non-Muslim backing? I argue that non-democratic states that restrict religion have an incentive to take action on contentious international issues — such as the religious defamation resolutions — to gain support from religious groups and justify their restrictive policies, even though Muslim religious defamation concerns and developing country solidarity also contributed to support. I demonstrate this through a mixed-method study, with a quantitative analysis of states' votes on the resolutions and case studies of Belarus and Pakistan. The article contributes to the study of religion and politics, as well as studies on the dynamics of United Nations voting.
    Politics and Religion 09/2013; 6(03).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The literature on state accommodation of Muslim religious practices has focused on the regional context of Western Europe and North America. In this project, I identify and compare state policies toward Islamic religious practices using a sample of 22 former communist Muslim republics of Eurasia. For this purpose, I construct an original dataset collected from a variety of sources. Employing the number of mosques functioning in each post-communist Muslim republic as the measure of state accommodation of religious practices I find that among all factors the level of democracy is the single most important variable in explaining variation in accommodation of Islamic religious practices. To further demonstrate significance of these results I trace the process of democratic influence on state accommodation of religious policies examining in-depth the case of Tatars both in the pre-communist Imperial and revolutionary Russia and the contemporary republic of Tatarstan.
    Politics and Religion 09/2013; 6(03).
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    ABSTRACT: The public opinion literature shows that cues about the policy positions of social groups influence citizens’ political attitudes. We assess whether cues about religious groups’ positions affect attitudes on three issues: protection of homosexuals in the workplace, improving the socio-economic conditions of African-Americans, and government-provided health insurance. We argue that such cues should shape issue attitudes and condition the impact of religious and political orientations on those attitudes. That should be especially true on issues closely connected to religion and for citizens with low levels of political awareness. We assess this argument with a survey experiment pitting pairs of religious groups on opposite sides of issues. We find that religious group cues matter primarily for cultural attitudes, among less politically-aware individuals, and for the religiously unaffiliated, Democrats, and liberals. The dominant effect is negative, moving these groups away from the positions of religious leaders and especially evangelical leaders.
    Politics and Religion 06/2013; 6(02).
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    ABSTRACT: States of the United States differ significantly in terms of politically salient religious culture. But prior to the 2008 presidential election several studies inspired by rational political theory that found that during war time voting districts with high rates of military fatalities were more likely to vote against incumbent candidates and for anti-war candidates failed to control for variation in religious culture. In the present study, multivariate analyses that controlled for local differences in religious culture found that Iraq War military fatalities had an overall positive effect on the difference in the percent of the vote received in the 50 states and the District of Columbia by the anti-war Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in the 2008 election and the pre-war Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore in the 2000 election. Tests for interaction, however, also found that the magnitude and ultimately the direction of this effect were conditioned by religious culture. In states with very high percentages of evangelical Protestants, the military fatality rate actually appeared to have a negative effect.
    Politics and Religion 06/2013; 6(02).
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    ABSTRACT: This is a study of the comparative outcome success experienced by 2748 participants in government-funded faith-based and community-based intervention programs for at-risk and adjudicated Latino youths run by 28 providers in five western cities. The Latino Coalition, an intermediary faith-based organization, subcontracted with 28 sub-grantees that provided the services from 2005–2008. The study found similar outcomes were experienced by youths in the faith-based versus the community-based programs, but it did find significantly different outcomes by the comprehensive versus non-comprehensive nature of the programs. The study places its findings in the context of faith-based and community initiatives and draws conclusions concerning the public policy implications of the government partnering with faith-based and community-based organizations to provide public services to needy, and especially minority, populations.
    Politics and Religion 06/2013; 6(02).
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    ABSTRACT: Examining religion in the study of political behavior has produced varied results because of a lack of clarity on the conceptualization of religion and a methodology that cannot adequately untangle the multiple meanings of religion. Using the technique of propensity score matching, this work breaks apart the three B's in a number of analyses in order to properly understand how behavior, belief, and belonging impacts political tolerance. The results of this analysis indicate that a belief in biblical literalism decreases political tolerance, while church attendance often increases tolerance.
    Politics and Religion 06/2013; 6(02).
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    ABSTRACT: We explore the relationship between religiosity and public support for greater government services. We theorize that increases in religiosity and public opinion both reflect demands from citizens in the face of insecurity. We argue that religiosity is comprised of two factors: responses to insecurity; and long-held preferences for religion, or secularity. We show that previous studies that have observed increased religiosity leading to decreased support for government spending have not distinguished among religiosity as driven by secularity versus insecurity. To test our theory, we first estimate a series of simulations, and we then turn to the dynamics of aggregate religiosity and public opinion in the United States over the past fifty years, an environment where long-held preferences for religious goods have remained relatively stable. Consistent with our theory, religiosity and public opinion respond to insecurity; the series are positively correlated, move together through time, and react in similar ways to changes in GDP per capita. Our findings indicate that during times when there is greater insecurity, both religiosity and demand from government increase.
    Politics and Religion 06/2013; 6(02).
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    ABSTRACT: Examination of the First Amendment's establishment clause in the post World War II period is unique in American constitutional interpretation because virtually all voices had agreed on one point, originalism. Few if any significant writers on the establishment clause had doubted the centrality of the founders' original intent for interpreting the clause's meaning. Yet this now has changed. Unlike their predecessors, leading advocates of church-state separation have now moved away from an original meaning interpretation of the establishment clause. Yet these separationists continue to try to ground their normative policy prescriptions in establishment clause mandates. They attempt this balancing act by employing narrative strategies of evolutionary processes in history. They do not simply track changes in constitutional doctrine, but characterize changes yielding greater separation between church and state through the nation's history as incipient in the Republic's founding, an originally inchoate church-state principle only fully formed through historical evolution. In the process, they sweep myriad separationist ideas into their progressively evolving narratives which have never been enunciated as law. Their accounts thus often reflect less an attempt to track historical developments in fundamental law than an attempt to construct fundamental law narratives. These attempts highlight persistent historical problems in the separationist endeavor that require attention if the evolutionary narratives of leading separationist are to shape the field of establishment clause history.
    Politics and Religion 06/2013; 6(02).
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    ABSTRACT: Recent research in the United States has found candidates for elected office are able to use a rhetorical form of closed-circuit communication with evangelical Protestants — “God Talk” — that communicates valuable political information without alerting other constituencies. Close observation of the 2010 parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom (U.K.) uncovered what appeared to be a form of God Talk in use by David Cameron and the Conservative Party, especially the use of “broken” to describe the state of Britain. Thus, we assess whether God Talk is an efficacious communication strategy in the U.K. using an experiment that selectively exposes participants to God Talk statements. The mixed results suggest that some forms of God Talk are better than others in conveying to U.K. evangelicals that a candidate is conservative and religious without triggering the same associations by non-evangelical voters. We close with a discussion of the normative impact of such communication strategies.
    Politics and Religion 03/2013; 6(01).
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    ABSTRACT: This article discusses Abdullahi Ahmed an-Na‘im's Islam and the Secular State from the perspective of Marsilius of Padua's political theory. Both authors share similar concepts of the relationship between religion, state policy, and the state, and allow for the integration of religious doctrines into state law. Nonetheless, the Marsilian conception provides stronger protection of unbelievers' and religious dissenters' civic rights. In the broader discourse on political theory of rights, Marsilius argues in favors of individual rights and a protection of minority rights, while an-Na‘im's theory of Shari‘a reform suggests a preference for a people's self-determination.
    Politics and Religion 03/2013; 6(01).
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    ABSTRACT: The ideal of public reason, made prominent by John Rawls, has become a mainstay of discussions about the proper role of religious arguments in a politically liberal society. In particular, Rawls's theory of public reason requires citizens and public officials to refrain from appealing to comprehensive religious and philosophical doctrines in public deliberation on matters of basic justice and constitutional essentials. In this essay, we review the ways in which the public life of Martin Luther King, Jr. — with its frequent appeals to a comprehensive doctrine to justify disobedience to the law — represents a challenge to the ideal of public reason, and we consider several Rawlsian rejoinders. What is missing from the existing body of scholarship on public reason is a thorough analysis of King's philosophical and theological arguments, including the examples of legal injustice he offered in his celebrated “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” As we note, King's specific examples of unjust laws rely on a theological framework that bedevils the attempt to reconcile his Letter with the constructivist underpinnings of Rawls's theory of public reason. Indeed, Rawls is in something of a bind: either King's argument is not acceptable under the terms of public reason or public reason simply cannot limit contemporary public discourse in the way Rawls has in mind. We consider several possible Rawlsian arguments for the accommodation of King's theological rhetoric, but conclude that the Rawlsian idea of public reason remains deeply problematic.
    Politics and Religion 03/2013; 6(01).
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    ABSTRACT: The absence from Britain of anything like the United States New Christian Right of the 1980s could be explained by differences in the popularity of religion or in features of the respective party and political structures. Devolution and electoral reform have encouraged British Christians to form political parties and contest elections. Examination of their performance, agendas, and candidate profiles, coupled with survey data on British attitudes to mixing religion and politics, suggests that the major difference between the United States and Britain lies in the degree of secularization rather than in political opportunity structures.
    Politics and Religion 03/2013; 6(01).