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This article explores the relationship between headcovering and women's political participation through an original online survey of 1,917 Muslim-American women. As a visible marker of religious group identity, wearing the headscarf can orient the integration of Muslim women into the American political system via its impact on the openness of their associational life. Our survey respondents who cover are more likely to form insular, strong ties with predominantly Muslim friend networks, which decreased their likelihood of voting and affiliating with a political party. Interestingly, frequency of mosque attendance across both covered and uncovered respondents is associated with a higher probability of political participation, an effect noted in other religious institutions in the United States. Yet, mosque attendance can simultaneously decrease the political engagement of congregants if they are steered into exclusively religious friend groups. This discovery reveals a tension within American Muslim religious life and elaborates on the role of religious institutions vs. social networks in politically mobilizing Muslim-Americans.
Religious identity serves as a central cleavage in American politics. However, little attention has been granted to how gendered views of authority conveyed in religious doctrine shape political identities and attitudes. Using a nation-wide sample of adult Americans, we demonstrate that gendered notions of divine and human authority exert considerable influence on political thinking. In particular, belief in a masculine God and preferences for traditional gender roles strongly relate to political conservatism. Adherence to gendered notions of authority influences political identity and policy preferences, even when controlling for more conventional indicators of religiosity. Accounting for gendered beliefs about authority also partially explains well-documented gender gaps in American politics, providing insight into women's apparently contradictory tendencies toward both political liberalism and religiosity. The relationships uncovered here, coupled with the continued salience of both gender and religion in contemporary political campaigns, underscore the importance of attending to the gendered dimensions of authority.
Despite the continued debate over the relationship between church and state in American politics, our understanding of the sources of attitudes on controversies over religious establishment and religious free exercise is limited. I argue that authoritarianism is an unrecognized but important predictor of mass-level attitudes on church and state. I argue that individuals with higher levels of authoritarianism are more likely to support religious establishment as a means of maintaining social conformity and reinforcing the existing social order. Likewise, those with higher levels of authoritarianism should exhibit reduced support for religious free exercise when minority groups are in question as a means of imposing greater costs on social out-groups. Using data from the 2008 Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project, I find strong support for my theory. Even after controlling for a variety of alternative explanations, authoritarianism remains an important factor in attitudes toward both religious establishment and religious free exercise.
We argue that concerted efforts by Tea Party leaders, Republican politicians, and leading Christian Right figures to establish and promote a connection between Christian faith and the free-market system has helped shift the economic attitudes of white evangelical Protestants in a more conservative direction. Our analysis of Public Religion Research Institute survey data finds that white evangelical Protestants express greater skepticism about an active role of government in society and believe economic growth is more likely to be spurred by a reduction in taxes rather than in public investments. Moreover, we find that identifying with the Tea Party has a conservatizing influence on their economic issue positions. While we find that partisanship, class, and in some cases, age, serve to modify the views of some evangelicals, by and large, evangelicals have come to embrace the conservative fiscal message promoted by both the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement.
This study explores depictions of Islam in Senate rhetoric across the 106th (1999–2000) and 111th (2009–2010) Congresses. These two periods are compared to consider overall patterns in congressional discourse on Islam and to explore how the September 11th, 2001 attacks might have shaped this discourse. The study also examines the possible effects of ideology, partisanship, and senator religious affiliation on representations of Islam. The article ultimately suggests that despite some important post-September 11 shifts in Senate rhetoric pertaining to Islam, persistent themes regarding securitization, Orientalist tendencies, moderate-fundamentalist dichotomizations, and ideological divisions merit scrutiny. This study contributes to work on Congress, religion, and American politics by assessing trends in the discursive representation of Islam by United States legislators. Theoretically, the article draws upon the Copenhagen School in International Relations to assess the securitization of Islam within legislative debates and to develop the related concept of normalization.
Americans’ perceptions of science are structured by overlapping cultural fields of politics and religion, and those cultural fields vary over time in how they influence opinion about science. This paper provides a historical narrative for understanding how religious and political factors influence public perceptions of science over the last four decades. Using data from the 1974–2012 General Social Survey, the impact of religious and political factors are examined and compared across decades using heterogeneous ordinal logistic regression models and ordinal structural equation models. Estimates show that the impact of sectarian Protestant identification and fundamentalist beliefs in the Bible are increasingly linked to lower levels of confidence in science, and that these religious factors also influence the impact of political conservatism and Republican Party identification. Political conservatism has become more oppositional towards science, and Republicans have become less enthusiastic compared to periods when science was primarily linked to militaristic endeavors.
The decline in religious identification and corresponding increase in the unaffiliated has been one of the most important religious changes in the United Kingdom (UK). The emergence of the “religious nones” is the most obvious sign of continuing secularization and the declining social and cultural relevance of religion. Yet while the religiously-unaffiliated often form the plurality — if not sometimes the majority — in many surveys, there has been little scholarly investigation into atheists, agnostics, and others who do not identify with a particular religion. This article uses a 2014 survey of UK adults to examine how those who identify as atheist or agnostic differ from the religiously-affiliated in terms of religiosity, ideology, and policy preferences. Findings reveal secular groups in the UK to be more to the ideological left than the religiously affiliated, and that atheists and agnostics differ from each other and especially the religiously affiliated on public policy.
Drawing on the descriptive representation literature, we argue that religious identity is a social identity similar to gender or race, which leads a person to feel represented by someone who shares their religious identity. We argue that religious identity motivates approbation for public officials that is distinct from partisanship. We find that constituents who share the religious identity of their congressional representatives are significantly more likely to approve of their representative's performance in office. In addition, those who share a religious identity with President Obama are more trusting of him; particularly among those for whom religion is important. Finally, we find that shared religious identity moderates the relationship between partisanship and trust in the President. All else equal, Republicans who share a religious identity with President Obama are 500% more likely to trust him than a Republican who does not.