Samuel Perry

Samuel Perry
University of Oklahoma | ou · Department of Sociology

PhD, Sociology, University of Chicago

About

188
Publications
87,187
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3,052
Citations
Citations since 2016
155 Research Items
2918 Citations
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Introduction
I am an assistant professor of sociology and religious studies at the University of Oklahoma. My research explores the changing dynamics of religious and family life in the United States.

Publications

Publications (188)
Article
Sociologists have proposed numerous theories for declining marriage rates in the United States, often highlighting demographic, economic, and cultural factors. One controversial theory contends that having multiple non-marital sex partners reduces traditional incentives for men to get married and simultaneously undermines their prospects in the mar...
Article
A principal concern regarding nationalist sentiment is the tendency to sanctify “the nation” and support it as chosen and pure regardless of its complicity in injustice. Building on research showing the tendency to whitewash America’s past is primarily localized to white Americans, and particularly those who stress its Christian heritage, we theori...
Article
What fuels both enthusiasm for increasing “American” birth rates and fears about their decline? Citing the prevalence of fertility campaigns in authoritarian regimes characterized by ethno‐nationalist Christianity, we theorize that, in addition to patriarchal attitudes, perceived ethno‐cultural threat and desire for ethno‐cultural dominance substan...
Preprint
Full-text available
Sociologists have proposed numerous theories for declining marriage rates in the United States, often highlighting demographic, economic, and cultural factors. One controversial theory contends that having multiple non-marital sex partners reduces traditional incentives for men to get married and simultaneously undermines their prospects in the mar...
Article
Americans are increasingly polarized by a variety of metrics. The dimensions, extent, causes, and consequences of that polarization have been the subject of much debate. Yet despite the centrality of religion to early discussions, the analytical focus on America's divides has largely shifted toward partisan identity, political ideology, race, and c...
Chapter
The deep story of white Christian nationalism was already fully formed by around 1690, nearly three centuries before the emergence of the New Christian Right. It was woven together out of three stories taken from the Christian Bible: the Chosen People story, the End Times story and the Racial Curse story. Who counted as “white,” “Christian,” and “A...
Chapter
This chapter shows how white Christian nationalism has influenced American politics over the last two decades: the Tea Party movement, the MAGA phenomenon, and the Capitol insurrection. It argues that WCN is the hidden through line that connects all three moments. It then explores the “holy trinity” of WCN: freedom, order, and violence. White freed...
Book
Most Americans were shocked by the violence they witnessed at the nation’s capital on January 6, 2021. And bewildered by the images displayed by the insurrectionists: a wooden cross and wooden gallows; “Jesus Saves” and “Don’t Tread on Me”; Christian flags and Confederate Flags; even a prayer in Jesus’s name after storming the Senate chamber. Where...
Chapter
This chapter uses quantitative data to show how many white Christian nationalists there are, which religious traditions they belong to, and what they believe. WCN is most strongly represented among evangelical Protestants but attracts significant numbers of mainline Protestants, Roman Catholics, and even some non-Christians. It also shows that whit...
Chapter
This chapter explains what white Christian nationalism (WCN) is and is not. It is a deep story about America’s past and a political vision of its future. The story claims that America was founded by and for (white, Protestant) Christians. It warns that America’s power and prosperity are endangered by racial, religious, and foreign-born others. The...
Article
During late spring 2020, when states were issuing stay-at-home orders, the majority of congregations and Americans followed protocols and avoided in-person worship. Yet a vocal minority of Americans defied protocols and gathered in worship. The authors use national panel data collected in mid-May and August 2020 to assess whether Americans who atte...
Chapter
White Christian nationalism is fast becoming a serious threat to American democracy. So long as white, native-born Christians were numerically and politically dominant, WCN could coexist with American democracy. As the nation has become less white and more secular, however, WCN has taken an authoritarian turn. The result is an increasing hostility...
Article
Full-text available
IntroductionThough religious conservatives espousing patriarchal views have historically been on the forefront of anti-pornography efforts in the USA, the past few decades have witnessed an increasing secularization of the anti-pornography movement. This shift is characterized by greater rhetorical dependence on scientific studies, secular anti-por...
Article
Though the persistence of voter suppression and disenfranchisement in the US is well-documented, we still know little about their contemporary ideological underpinnings beyond partisanship and racial resentment. Highlighting the Christian Right’s influence in driving anti-democratic sentiment in the post-Civil Rights era, we propose contemporary id...
Article
Full-text available
Of the many changes in daily life brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing efforts and governmentally mandated lockdowns were among the most drastic. Coinciding with these changes, popular pornography websites made some previously premium content available for free, spurring dramatic increases in traffic to these websites. This inc...
Article
Full-text available
Religious right leaders often promulgate views of Christianity's historical preeminence, privilege, and persecution in the United States that are factually incorrect, suggesting credulity, ignorance, or perhaps, a form of ideologically motivated ignorance on the part of their audience. This study examines whether Christian nationalism predicts expl...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Despite the lack of scientific consensus on pornography’s relationship to addiction, sexual functioning, or violence, research has nevertheless documented the increasing deployment of scientific studies to argue that pornography constitutes a “public health crisis” and renew calls for sweeping anti-pornography legislation. This paradoxi...
Article
Sociologists have long identified a “perception gap” between Black and White Americans regarding racial injustice, often emphasizing either “epistemologies of ignorance” or “religio-cultural” mechanisms. Integrating and extending these insights, we theorize that conceptions of America’s religio-cultural heritage and identity are racially coded and...
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Full-text available
Although decades old, the terms “anti-racism/antiracism” and “anti-racist/antiracist” have grown in usage by scholars, authors, and activists to convey the necessity of active opposition to racial injustice. But as the terms have become more mainstream, researchers have yet to examine the social and ideological correlates of actually describing one...
Preprint
Full-text available
Americans are increasingly polarized by a variety of metrics. The dimensions, extent, causes, and consequences of that polarization have been the subject of much debate. Yet despite the centrality of religion to early discussions, the analytical focus on America’s divides has largely shifted toward partisan identity, political ideology, race, and c...
Article
For decades now and particularly during the 2020 presidential campaign, American conservatives have stressed the need to protect “religious freedom.” Building on research documenting a connection between Trump-support, a desire to privilege conservative Christianity, and perceptions that conservative Christianity is persecuted due to its anti-LGT (...
Article
Religious communities in pluralistic societies often hold in tension the task of reinforcing core identities and ideals within the community while negotiating public relations among those outside the community. Christian communities have sought to accomplish both projects materially through Bible modification, with most historically working to esta...
Preprint
Of the many changes in daily life brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing efforts and governmentally mandated lockdowns were among the most drastic. Coinciding with these changes, popular pornography websites made some previously premium content available for free, spurring dramatic increases in traffic to these websites. This inc...
Article
Full-text available
Christian nationalist ideology was among the strongest predictors of Americans voting for Trump in 2016 and remained a strong predictor of intent to vote for him prior to the 2020 election. This study uses national data to examine whether Christian nationalism could potentially convert the previously-unconverted to supporting Trump or, conversely,...
Article
Religiously conservative Americans consistently demonstrate lower scientific literacy than other Americans. Some argue, however, that Americans’ scientific literacy is contingent on subcultural conflict, showing differences in scientific literacy that emerge only on religiously contested scientific claims. Building on these insights, we find that t...
Article
For decades anti-pornography sentiment and campaigns were driven largely by religious conservatives citing pornography’s “contaminating” moral effects. More recently, however, anti-porn campaigns have sought to support their arguments by appealing to social and cognitive science. This raises the question of whether anti-pornography sentiment is und...
Article
Numerous studies document the connection between American evangelicalism and male insecurity stemming from essentialist, phallocentric conceptions of masculinity. Yet data have often been confined to individuals’ responses in surveys or qualitative interviews. This limits our understanding because individuals may lie about the most personal sources...
Article
Full-text available
A growing body of research has demonstrated how the link between pornography use and various manifestations of psychological distress and dissatisfaction is explained by moral incongruence—the experience of violating one’s deeply held moral values. The predictive power of moral incongruence, however, has yet to be applied to other sexual activities...
Preprint
Full-text available
Sociologists have proposed numerous theories for declining marriage rates in the United States, generally highlighting demographic, economic, and cultural factors. One controversial theory contends that having multiple non-marital sex partners reduces traditional incentives for men to get married and simultaneously undermines their prospects in the...
Article
Full-text available
We propose contemporary support for sweeping anti-pornography legislation is driven, in large part, by Christian nationalism-an ideology seeking to politically enforce a mythic Christian sexual order, but not one's own sexual behavior. We show Christian nationalism strongly predicts a desire to outlaw pornography, but not actual pornography use. Mo...
Article
Full-text available
During the COVID-19 crisis in March/April of 2020, far-right American political leaders and pundits proffered xenophobic explanations for the pandemic while ignoring that poorer, Black Americans and prison populations were being disproportionately infected. We propose such xenophobic and racist evaluations of COVID-19 drew from and appealed to a pe...
Article
Full-text available
During the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local governments implemented lockdown restrictions that were tremendously polarizing. Those on the cultural and political left supported restrictions hoping to protect the vulnerable, while those on the cultural and political right challenged restrictions citing threats to the economy and liberty. We theoriz...
Article
Full-text available
Prior research demonstrates that a number of cultural factors-including politics and religion-are significantly associated with anti-vaccine attitudes. This is consequential because herd immunity is compromised when large portions of a population resist vaccination. Using a nationally representative sample of American adults that contains a battery...
Article
Full-text available
America's judicial system is both exceptionally punitive and demonstrably unjust toward racial minorities. While these dual realities are structured into America's institutions, we propose they are also partially sustained by the intersection of ideologies that are both racialized and sacralized. Using multiple waves of the General Social Surveys a...
Article
Full-text available
Religious communities in pluralistic societies often hold in tension the task of reinforcing core identities and ideals within the community while negotiating public relations among those outside the community. Christian communities have sought to accomplish both projects materially through Bible modification, with most historically working to esta...
Article
Full-text available
Coinciding with declining rates of marriage and coupled sex in the U.S., some scholars have proposed that the growing availability of “low-cost sexual gratification” or “cheap sex”—sexual activities such as hookups, pornography use, and masturbation that demand little effort or investment—will lead men to find marital commitment less appealing. Usi...
Article
Numerous studies show biblicist Christianity, religiosity, and conservative political identity are strong predictors of Americans holding skeptical attitudes toward publicly controversial aspects of science, such as human evolution. We show that Christian nationalism—meaning the desire to see particularistic and exclusivist versions of Christian sy...
Article
Explaining the rise of Donald Trump has become a cottage industry for social scientists, and with good reason. Despite relatively strong economic numbers throughout most of his pre-coronavirus administration, Trump’s presidency has been an absolute catastrophe for race relations, the environment, and America’s place in the world, as well as our con...
Article
Full-text available
Discussions of biblical interpretation often proceed under one of two assumptions. Readers’ interpretations are primarily formed (1) inductively, according to the Bible's objective content, or (2) through the lens of preformed ideologies and biases. We assessed the influence of these two factors using two survey experiments with undergraduates. In...
Article
During the COVID‐19 pandemic, Americans’ behavioral responses were quickly politicized. Those on the left stressed precautionary behaviors, while those on the (religious) right were more likely to disregard recommended precautions. We propose the far right response was driven less by partisanship or religiosity per se, but rather by an ideology tha...
Preprint
pornography use may qualify for the new diagnosis of Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder (CSBD) in the forthcoming ICD-11. There is also evidence, however, that moral incongruence (i.e., a misalignment of moral beliefs about sexual behavior and actual sexual behavior) may inflate self-reports of problems associated with pornography use. Prior work...
Article
In the United States, pornography use is common, and it is increasingly a clinical concern under some circumstances. Excessive pornography use may qualify for the new diagnosis of compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD) in the forthcoming 11th version of the International Classification of Diseases. There is also evidence, however, that moral in...
Article
Some of the strongest predictors of voting for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election were Christian nationalism and antipathy toward Muslims and immigrants. We examine the interrelated influence of these three factors on Americans’ intentions to vote for Trump in 2020. Consistent with previous research, Christian nationalism and Islamophob...
Article
Full-text available
Numerous studies have examined the association between pornography use and various measures of relationship quality. Yet scholars have also pointed out the limitations of many such studies, including inconsistent findings for men and women, non-representative samples, and negatively-biased measures that could result in misleading findings. The purp...
Chapter
This chapter explores how Christian nationalism helps explain Americans’ responses toward a host of sociocultural issues. It examines how and why Ambassadors, Accommodators, Resisters, and Rejecters respond differently to disputes over immigration, the refugee crisis, gun control, and arguments over “respecting the flag,” to name a few. It also exp...
Chapter
In this chapter we explore how Christian nationalism erects and sustains symbolic boundaries concerning race and ethnicity, nativism, citizenship, and religious diversity. Focusing first on racial and ethnic diversity, we show how Christian nationalism actually implies the necessity of maintaining distinct racial boundaries. Ambassadors and Accommo...
Chapter
This chapter introduces the four categories that encompass the orientations of all Americans toward Christian nationalism. The remaining chapters of the book draw on each of these four categories. This chapter provides empirical descriptions of each group: Ambassadors, Accommodators, Resisters, and Rejecters. The demographics of each group are expl...
Chapter
This chapter introduces Christian nationalism. It is defined as a conceptual framework—a collection of myths, traditions, symbols, narratives, and value systems—that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christianity with American civic life. The chapter also introduces the authors’ measurement of this concept and compares it to other possible measur...
Book
Taking America Back for God conclusively reveals that understanding the current cultural and political climate in the United States requires reckoning with Christian nationalism. Christian ideals and symbols have long played an important role in public life in the United States, but Christian nationalism demands far more than a recognition of relig...
Chapter
The conclusion provides an overview of the four responses to the Christian nation narrative and the key patterns outlined throughout the book. It rearticulates the main arguments that Christian nationalism is vital to understanding our current social and political context, that it is not synonymous with or a byproduct of other ideologies, and that...
Chapter
In this chapter we demonstrate how Christian nationalists are deeply invested in ensuring family life in the United States reflects a particular order prioritizing patriarchy, heterosexuality, and cisgender identification. The family is viewed as the building block of society and the ultimate litmus test for any moral decay within a society. Using...
Preprint
Full-text available
Some of the strongest predictors of voting for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election were Christian nationalism and antipathy toward Muslims and immigrants. We examine the interrelated influence of these three factors on Americans’ intentions to vote for Trump in 2020. Consistent with previous research, Christian nationalism and Islamophob...
Article
Recent studies demonstrate that white Americans who adhere to “Christian nationalism”―an ideology that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christianity and American civic life―tend to hold authoritarian, exclusionary, and overtly prejudicial attitudes, particularly regarding ethno-racial minorities. We use data from the 1996 and 2014 General Social...
Preprint
Numerous studies show biblicist Christianity, religiosity, and conservative political identity are strong predictors of Americans holding skeptical attitudes toward publicly controversial aspects of science, such as human evolution. We show that Christian nationalism—meaning the desire to see particularistic and exclusivist versions of Christian sy...
Article
English Bible translations are often classified along two axes: (1) whether their translation approach pursues “formal correspondence” (prioritizing literalness) or “functional equivalence” (prioritizing meaning); and (2) whether their translation approach emphasizes “gender-traditionalism” (translating gendered language literally) or “gender-inclu...
Article
Despite controversies about the diagnosis, the World Health Organization recently elected to include compulsive sexual behavior disorder in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases. Both recent and remote works have suggested that various cultural factors such as personal religiousness and morality can influence both the exp...
Article
Full-text available
Recent studies have found that state-level religious and political conservatism is positively associated with various aggregate indicators of interest in pornography. Such studies have been limited, however, in that they either did not include data measuring actual consumption patterns and/or did not include data on individuals (risking the ecologi...
Article
Full-text available
Over 60 percent of Americans have some sort of family pet. Although studies have explored the personality and demographic correlates of pet ownership, none have considered whether religious characteristics may influence not only pet ownership, but the kind of pet Americans own. Drawing on data from the 2018 General Social Survey, we examine the rel...
Article
Full-text available
Invited commentary on the Target Article: Leonhardt, N. D., Spencer, T. J., Butler, M. H., & Theobald, A. C. (2018). An organizational framework for sexual media’s influence on short-term versus long-term sexual quality. Archives of Sexual Behavior. doi: 10.1007/s10508-018-1209-4
Article
Early religion scholars stressed the importance of institutionalized “rites of passage” to integrate and reinvigorate groups themselves. Surprisingly, little work, however, has explored the efficacy of such rites for the religious lives of individuals. Although research has examined the transformative role of semi‐institutionalized rites like short...
Preprint
Recent studies demonstrate that white Americans who adhere to “Christian nationalism”―an ideology that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christianity and American civic life―tend to hold authoritarian, exclusionary, and overtly prejudicial attitudes, particularly regarding ethno-racial minorities. In light of the public resurgence of white nation...
Article
Full-text available
Sociologists whose research intersects with American Christianity recognize the critical importance of the Bible to understanding many Americans' beliefs, values, and behaviors, but their operative approach to the Bible generally ignores that "the Bible" is as much a product of interpretive communities as it is a symbolic marker of identity or shap...
Chapter
Chapter 1 provides a historical and statistical overview of how the relationship between conservative Protestantism and pornography has changed over time. Conservative Protestants generally did not seek to confront pornography as a threat to the church until the 1960s and 1970s. Initially, conservative Protestants wanted to ban pornography through...
Chapter
Chapter 2 explains the paradox of conservative Protestants’ interpretations of pornography use and masturbation. Though pornography and masturbation are functionally related, conservative Protestants seem to draw a distinction between the two. Conservative Protestants typically condemn pornography unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms,...
Book
Few other cultural issues alarm conservative Protestant families and communities more than the seemingly ubiquitous threat of pornography. Thanks to widespread access to the internet, conservative Protestants now face a reality in which every Christian man, woman, and child with a smartphone can access limitless pornography in his or her bathroom,...
Chapter
Chapter 6 describes how conservative Protestants approach the challenge of trying to stop using pornography. It begins with the observation that different groups within conservative Protestantism advocate for different approaches to quitting pornography use. Some advocate more practical approaches based on contemporary psychology. Others advocate a...
Chapter
The conclusion briefly recapitulates and integrates previous chapters in order to outline implications both for research on pornography use and for religious life in the United States. It ends by drawing out important takeaways and challenges for conservative Protestant communities for whom pornography is not only a moral problem but also one that...
Chapter
Chapter 4 considers how the influence of complementarian gender ideology differentially shapes the experiences of conservative Protestant men and women who view pornography. While the moral incongruence involving pornography use can often be crippling for conservative Protestant men, this chapter shows that conservative Protestant women often exper...
Chapter
Chapter 5 shows how pornography use shapes the romantic and family relationships of conservative Protestants in ways that are uniquely destructive. Specifically, he chapter draws on both quantitative data and qualitative interviews to explain why the sex lives and relationship quality of conservative Protestants tends to suffer more from pornograph...
Chapter
Chapter 3 explores the consequences of the dissonance conservative Protestants experience in porn use, shaping their religious lives and even mental health. The chapter goes deeper into the history and prevalence of what the author calls “sexual exceptionalism” among conservative Protestants, focusing on porn use in particular. The chapter then dra...
Chapter
The book’s introduction begins by describing the growing use and acceptance of pornography in the United States in order to frame the dilemma confronting conservative Protestants. Conservative Protestants’ connections to modern media and technology leave them vulnerable to the allure of pornography. Today, Christian leaders lament that many young C...
Article
Full-text available
A number of recent studies have examined the connection between pornography use and relationship outcomes for Americans already in marriages. The current study takes this research in a different direction by examining (1) whether pornography use may be associated with entrance into marriage during early adulthood and (2) whether this association is...
Article
Recent research shows that Americans who adhere to Christian nationalism-an ideology that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christianity and American civic life-tend to hold authoritarian and exclusionary attitudes, particularly regarding ethno-racial minorities and nontraditional family forms. Such findings suggest a fundamental connection betwe...
Article
Transitions in the American religious landscape including religious nonaffiliation, congregational and seminary enrollment declines, and the proliferation of megachurches have reshaped the clergy labor market and increased the precariousness of this type of work. One potential indication of this growing instability is the supposedly increasing numb...
Article
Full-text available
The notion of problematic pornography use remains contentious in both academic and popular literature. Although the mental health community at large is divided as to the addictive versus non-addictive nature of Internet pornography, substantial numbers of individuals report "feeling" as if their use of Internet pornography is problematic. The prese...
Preprint
Recent research suggests that, for white Americans, conflating national and religious group identities is strongly associated with racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia, prompting some to argue that claims about Christianity being central to American identity are essentially about reinforcing white supremacy. Prior work has not considered, however,...
Preprint
This article examines the relative impact of religious factors on Americans’ attitudes toward adoption by same-sex couples. Drawing upon national survey data, we fit logistic regression models and compute standardized logistic regression coefficients to estimate the relative net effects of religious tradition, practices, and beliefs about the Bible...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent research shows that Americans who adhere to Christian nationalism―an ideology that idealizes and advocates a fusion of Christianity and American civic life―tend to hold authoritarian and exclusionary attitudes, particularly regarding ethno-racial minorities and non-traditional family forms. Such findings suggest a fundamental connection betw...
Preprint
How does the convergence of national and religious identities potentially fortify white racial boundaries in the United States? Focusing on openness to racial exogamy as an indicator of racial boundaries, we examine the link between Christian nationalism and white Americans’ views toward their hypothetical daughter marrying an African American, Lat...
Preprint
How do overlapping social identities shape Americans’ views toward contemporary social and moral issues? Drawing upon national-level data and employing the theoretical construct of social identity complexity, we examine the link between Christian nationalism–representing a convergence of national and religious identities–and Americans’ views toward...
Article
Full-text available
Studies of religion and fertility argue that American childbearing has become less predicated on religious tradition and more on religious commitment and belief. Yet studies have not documented this transition over time or considered whether the growing importance of religious commitment and belief in childbearing applies across Christian tradition...
Article
Full-text available
Numerous studies have observed a persistent, and most often negative, association between pornography use and romantic relationship quality. While various theories have been suggested to explain this association, studies have yet to empirically examine whether the observed link between pornography consumption and relationship outcomes has more to d...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aims: Despite controversies regarding its existence as a legitimate mental health condition, self reports of pornography addiction seem to occur regularly. In the United States, prior works using various sampling techniques, such as undergraduate samples and online convenience samples, have consistently demonstrated that some pornogr...
Article
Full-text available
Recent research suggests that, for white Americans, conflating national and religious group identities is strongly associated with racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia, prompting some to argue that claims about Christianity being central to American identity are essentially about reinforcing white supremacy. Prior work has not considered, however,...
Article
Full-text available
This study elucidates the puzzle of evangelical grievance selection by comparing evangelicals' divergent collective responses to pornography use and solo-masturbation. Drawing on 80 in-depth interviews and content analyses of 55 evangelical monographs, I show how internal and external influences shape evangelicals' evaluations of and responses to t...
Article
Full-text available
Research on the link between religion and pornography suggests that more frequent pornography viewing can lead to declines in individuals' religious commitment, likely stemming from the guilt, shame, and dissonance adherents experience for violating sacralized moral values. No research, however, has considered the implications of this phenomenon fo...
Preprint
A number of recent studies have examined the connection between pornography use and relationship outcomes for Americans already in marriages. The current study takes this research in a different direction by examining (1) whether pornography use may be associated with entrance into marriage during early adulthood and (2) whether this association is...
Article
Full-text available
Having a “born-again” experience has historically been a marker of sectarian or evangelical Protestantism. Yet the percentage of American Catholics reporting a born-again experience has nearly doubled in the past few decades―from 14 percent in 2004 to 27 percent in 2016―a much faster increase than that of evangelicals or any other religious group....

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