Researchers Say the Christian Right is Driving Liberals From Religion

Is the so-called Christian right driving liberals away from religion?

A new FiveThirtyEight analysis of recent studies suggests it is.

Researchers Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux and Daniel Cox say new data confirmed what a paper suggested in 2002: that “distaste for the Christian right’s involvement with politics was prompting some left-leaning Americans to walk away from religion.” That in turn, helped explain why the percentage of Americans who identify as nonreligious was increasing.

“It was a simple but compelling explanation,” Thomson-DeVeaux and Cox wrote. “For one thing, the timing made sense.”

White evangelical Protestants were becoming more involved in politics in the 1990s, promoting legislation on abortion and same-sex marriage, the researchers noted. The 2002 study asserted that the Christian right wasn’t just rousing religious voters – it was pushing “left-leaning people” with weaker religious ties “out of religion.”

“Within the past few years,” Thomson-DeVeaux and Cox wrote, several “prominent political scientists” have agreed with the 2002 study and “concluded that politics is a driving factor behind the rise of the religiously unaffiliated.”

“For one thing, several studies that followed respondents over time showed that it wasn’t that people were generally becoming more secular, and then gravitating toward liberal politics because it fit with their new religious identity,” Thomson-DeVeaux and Cox wrote. “People’s political identities remained constant as their religious affiliation shifted.”

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Source: Christian Headlines