ERIC Number: ED225921
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Religious Belief and Practice: New Forces in American Politics?
Beatty, Kathleen Murphy; Walter, Oliver
Exploratory research suggests that denominational preferences, fundamentalism, and church attendance are related to an individual's position on political issues. A review of research reveals that religious beliefs are stable, developed early in life, and are central to an individual's other orientations. Research on religious orientation is limited because the paradigms which guide most political science research exclude the influence of religious beliefs. Also, the inclusion of religious variables poses conceptualization and measurement problems. However, an analysis of political beliefs by religious denomination taken from the General Social Surveys (1972-1980) suggests the importance of establishing such measures. Over 11,000 responses were categorized according to Catholic, Jew, 14 Protestant denominations, and no affiliation. Opinions on abortion, women's roles, pornography, sex education, busing, blacks, death penalty, and other current issues were measured according to conservative or liberal stance. Opinion homogeneity was great; for example, nearly 94 percent of Mormons opposed busing while 95 percent of Jews favored gun registration. Further, an analysis of the American National Election Survey (1980) reveals that categorizing an individual as fundamentalist may be more revealing of political attitudes than denomination. (KC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Religious Fundamentalism
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (Denver, CO, September 2-5, 1982).