By Tobin Grant, Religious News Service, 11/9/14
A couple of months ago, I put together a graphic showing the political positions of American churches and religions. My analysis was based on Pew’s 2007 Religious Landscape survey, which included more than 35,000 people.
My work received a lot of attention. One of the most fascinating pieces of the graph was the position of people who belonged mainline churches. Despite the liberal positions of clergy and church leaders, mainline Protestants are some of the most conservative on economic issues. Mainline Protestants favored a smaller government that provided fewer services. The mainline churches could be described as “libertarian” because they also favored a government that stayed out of policies protecting morality.
Evangelicals held about the same position on economics, but they were much more conservative on the role of government in protecting traditional morality. Black Protestants, too, were conservative on social issues. They were much more supportive a larger government on economics.
Dan Olson and Ben Pratt of Purdue University crunched a different set of numbers but came up with remarkably similar results. They presented some of their results at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion meetings last week…