This is excellent insight. The bottom line take away is:
Conservatives who attend church have more moderate views than secular conservatives on issues like race, immigration and identity.
Here are some excerpts from “The Liberalism of the Religious Right – New York Times”.
People on the left think the religious right has compromised its Christian values in order to attain political power for Republicans. But new data suggest the left may have a lot more common ground with some of these conservatives than it thinks. In a Democracy Fund Voter Study Group report, I found that religious conservatives are far more supportive of diversity and immigration than secular conservatives. Religion appears to actually be moderating conservative attitudes, particularly on some of the most polarizing issues of our time: race, immigration and identity.
Churchgoing Trump voters care far more than nonreligious ones about racial equality (67 percent versus 49 percent) and reducing poverty (42 percent versus 23 percent).
In fact, many conservative Christian churches disapprove of the Trump administration’s handling of immigration.
It seems church teachings can curb tribalistic impulses by regularly reminding worshipers that we are all God’s children. This hasn’t extended to sexual minorities as much as progressives may like, but it appears to be making a difference when it comes to race and immigration.
Religious institutions also provide communities and identities that aren’t based upon immutable traits such as race or country of birth. Research suggests that identities that transcend race or nationality may lead people to feel more favorably toward racial and religious minorities.
Social psychology research has also found that conservatives have a stronger desire to belong and be loyal to cohesive groups. Secular conservatives lack church membership to provide that sense of belonging and may succumb to the temptation to find it on the basis of their race or the nation, thereby bolstering white nationalism or the alt-right movement.
Frequent participation in religious traditions also appears to bolster more tolerant attitudes and volunteer work among Muslims, Mormons and Buddhists.
But the harmonizing effect of religion may be diminishing. Since the early 1990s, as record numbers of Americans began leaving organized religion, the percentage of white Republicans with no religious affiliation has tripled, according to an analysis of the General Social Survey. Today, only 31 percent of the president’s coalition attends church regularly. Forty-eight percent never or rarely attend services.
This reaffirms the conclusion that organized religion builds community and with it tolerance – all very good. However, it also brings conservative values on abortion and sexual identity. All of which is ok – as long as there is not a drive to impose these values on all citizens. We need diversity of all forms and an environment friendly to diversity of thought and values.
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