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Religious shifts

June 16, 2017

Religiosity continues to plummet for incoming college freshmen. Conservative denominations are following old, mainstream ones in that decline, causing some to claim that the religious right has some responsibility.

But not everyone who disengages from religion thereby becomes liberal. Peter Beinart notes that the culture wars are salient even for those on the right who are not all that religious:

Non-churchgoing conservatives didn’t flock to Trump only because he articulated their despair. He also articulated their resentments. For decades, liberals have called the Christian right intolerant. When conservatives disengage from organized religion, however, they don’t become more tolerant. They become intolerant in different ways. Research shows that evangelicals who don’t regularly attend church are less hostile to gay people than those who do. But they’re more hostile to African Americans, Latinos, and Muslims.

That said, I suspect the same processes that cause people to give up religion nudge them away also from some of the purely political expressions of ressentiment. Hard to say.

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