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-Religion As a Predictor of Political Affiliation?

by Dr. D ~ February 6th, 2018


Here’s an article from the New York Times which indicates that religion and denominational membership are important factors in determining the political party affiliation of ministers and rabbis:

…according to a new data set representing the largest compilation of American religious leaders ever assembled.

Like their congregants, religious leaders have sharply divided themselves along political lines. Leaders and congregants of Unitarian and African Methodist Episcopal churches are overwhelmingly Democratic, as are those of Reform and Conservative Jewish synagogues. Those of several Evangelical and Baptist churches are overwhelmingly Republican. If religious denominations were states, almost all of them would be considered “Safely Democratic” or “Safely Republican,” with relatively few swing states.

Yet pastors are even more politically divided than the congregants in their denomination: Leaders of more liberal denominations tend to be even more likely to be registered as Democrats, and those of more conservative denominations even more likely to be registered as Republicans.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Some interesting data given in the original research that this article was based upon. Most of the time the NY Times is guilty of ‘not getting religion’ but the ‘grey lady’ does a good service here linking to the original research and seems to fairly represent some of the findings without their usual leftist judgments and commentary.

The research supposedly represents the political leanings of 130,000 religious leaders in America. However it is not as comprehensive as it sounds. The largest growing segment of the Christian community in the USA are the non-denominational churches which were not covered by this research. Also the LDS (Mormons) were left out since relevant data from that denomination is not available to the public including the researchers.

Not only was political party affiliation dealt with in the research but also attitudes toward abortion, gay marriage, and a comparison between pastors and denominational seminary faculty.

Looking at the data, the leaders in groups which seem to be more traditional in their understanding and acceptance of the Bible are also more conservative in their political membership and in their attitudes toward abortion and same-sex marriage. So in my opinion, the Bible and the acceptance of God’s Word is the real dividing line.

The African-American churches are a perplexing exception to the ‘Bible’ rule on many different fronts. While most black pastors continue to oppose same-sex marriage and abortion, the vast majority of black church leaders are members of the Democratic Party which is pro-abortion, supports gay marriage, and had a hard time getting a majority of delegates to vote for God during one of their last conventions.               *Top

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