US Study Shows Americans Turned Off With Religion Due to Christian Campaigns Against Gay Marriages
By Mei Manuel, May 09, 2018 05:05 AM
A recent study published in the Political Research Quarterly claims that there is a connection between the success of the 'Christian right' and the rise of people saying they are atheists or religiously unaffiliated.
In their study entitled 'Are the Politics of the Christian Right Linked to State Rates of the Nonreligious? The Importance of Salient Controversy', researchers Paul A. Djupe, Jacob R. Neiheisel, and Kimberly H. Conger said that their study 'suggests that the Christian Right influence in state politics seems to negatively affect religion, such that religious attachments fade in the face of visible Christian Right policy victories.'
The three studied the longstanding argument that 'the Christian Right is the most visible manifestation of religion in the United States, and the extreme positions taken by the movement on abortion and especially gay rights made all religion inhospitable for liberals and moderates.'
The study says that the rise of 'nones' began in 1994 when people started advocating for religious rights and it is politically supported. They also used the information from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study to produce a state-by-state graph of the rise in irreligion and compared it with the 'registered lobbyng groups associated with the Christian Right, the number of gay rights lobbies, the number of lobbying groups affiliated with the religious left', and they then add a marker if a state enacted a ban on gay marriage.
According to the study, 'First, when the Christian Right is seen as influential in a state (visibility) that has a same-sex marriage ban in place (salient conflict), the number of religious nones will rise. Second, when there is a joint presence of Christian Right and gay rights groups registered to lobby (another available measure of salient conflict), the number of religious nones will rise.' Furthermore, 'the religious tradition most closely identified with the Christian Right - evangelical Protestants - may have reduced growth rates in states where Christian Right activity was salient and controversial.'
The study concludes that there is a danger in speaking out on controversial issues and said 'Doing so except when public opinion is essentially united will entail lost membership, declining rates of organizational engagement, and reduced support from outside the group by some. At times, this is the necessary price of principle, but the schedule of rates should be well understood.'
It also added that the 'irony' that while speaking out on right-wing issues damages the evangelical cause, left-wing protests against segregation during the civil rights era also leads to the departure of churches. The study added: 'And just as involvement in the controversies of the day ushered in a period of organizational decline in which parishioners deserted mainline Protestantism in droves, it appears as though the Christian Right is following a strikingly similar path.'
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