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Religion in America: Putnam & Campbell It is no coincidence that the United States is both a nation of immigrants and a nation of high religiosity. (Sociology.

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Presentation on theme: "Religion in America: Putnam & Campbell It is no coincidence that the United States is both a nation of immigrants and a nation of high religiosity. (Sociology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Religion in America: Putnam & Campbell It is no coincidence that the United States is both a nation of immigrants and a nation of high religiosity. (Sociology 156)

2 Economic Inequality While barriers of race & gender have been lowered, class inequality has risen to historic heights across the last 30 years Class segregation has increased: – Classes more segregated spatially than before – Between 1940 & 1960, people married increasingly across class lines (proxied by education levels) but the trend has since reversed – Fraternal and civic organizations no longer bring different classes into conflict ( ) 2

3 What role does religion now play in terms of class? Since the late 1970s, among college educated whites 45 & younger (controlling for race & generation), church attendance has fallen from 30% to 27% – By contrast, among those without college, it has fallen from 30-32% to about 20-22% However, religiosity, measured by church attendance, is correlated with more downward-bridging class relationships than is found among secular Americans ( ) – esp. among evangelicals – Civil society Religiosity for white Americans correlated w/conservative views on govt aid to poor, though this correlation is far weaker than with views on sexual morality (256) 3

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6 Ethnicity & Religion Ethnicity and religion are often mutually reinforcing. It is no coincidence that the United States is both a nation of immigrants and a nation of high religiosity. Last 40 years have seen another in a series of waves of immigration – Herberg in ProtestantCatholicJew: Not only was [the immigrant] expected to retain his old religion, as he was not expected to retain his old language or nationality, but such was the shape of America that it was largely in and through his religion that he, or rather his children or grandchildren, found an identifiable place in American life. First- & third-generation immigrants attend religious services equally often, while second-generation does so less often (260-64) 6

7 Ethnicity & Religion A stronger ethnic identification means an increased likelihood of having married within ones childhood religion, which in turn is a key predictor of remaining within the same religion. (287) In general, high salience of ethnicity for identity is strongly correlated with a high salience of religion for identity – Mormons and evangelical Christians are exceptions: religiosity is important to their identity, but ethnic heritage is not Both emphasize proselytizing, recruit converts of different ethnic and language groups. Post-ethnic religions ( ) 7

8 Black Protestants Why not Protestants who are black? – Compared to evangelicals, similar (if slightly higher) level of church attendance, importance of religion in daily life decisions, & importance of religion to identity – Say grace daily, read Bible daily, talk about religion with similar (if again slightly higher) frequency – Similar-but-higher levels of churchgoing – Higher rates of fundamentalism than among evangelicals ( ) 8

9 Black Protestants But there are important, historically-determined differences – Evangelical community split over slavery – Black protestants created for reasons of race, not theology The church was the only institution available to black Americans that was run by and for their own community – A center of community, organization, artistic achievement, business, politics, and leadership ( ) – Civil Rights movement 9

10 Black Protestants Black Protestants share with their evangelical cousins an emphasis on individual salvation and piety, but they also have a strong communal element to their religion that more closely resembles the Social Gospel of mainline Protestantism. ( ) Social services and political activity Unique religious symbolism and narrative Emphasis on Exodus, Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (283-83) 10

11 Black Protestants Uniquely, highest level of traditional religiosity and most reliably Democratic voters – Most likely to report race & religion as important sources of personal identity – Most likely to use religion as a guide when making political decisions – Among the most likely to report engaging in political activity with fellow congregants – Black Protestant churches highly likely to be politically- active The intersections between faith and politics can, and do, vary across religious traditions. ( ) 11

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13 Latino Catholics Early wave of Anglo Catholics – Irish, Poles, Italians – The Church acted as an agent both of ethnic identity and of assimilation Attendance of Anglo Catholics has declined at a rate similar to the mainline Protestant churches – Decline of religiosity keeps pace with diminishing salience of ethnic identity Recent wave of Latino Catholics is more devout than descendents of earlier Catholics – Ages 65+: 15% Latino; 50-64: 16%; 35-49: 34%; 18-34: 58% – Far more likely to attend Mass – Net share of Catholic Americans thus remains stable – Next generation of American Catholics will be largely Latino ( ) 13

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17 Latino Catholics Difficult to place Latino Catholics on American left-right political spectrum – Some left positions Should govt reduce income differences between rich & poor? – Yes: 61% Anglo Catholics; 86% Latino Catholics Should govt spend more to aid the poor? – Yes: 40% Anglo Catholics, 87% Latino Catholics – Some right positions – 12% Anglo Catholics oppose all abortion, 31% Latino Catholics – 25% Anglo Catholics oppose gay marriage, 33% Latino Catholics In general, Latino Catholics are more orthodox and have greater confidence in the Church tan do their Anglo counterparts ( ) 17

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19 Latino Catholics On the whole, Latino Catholics experience their religion differently than do Anglo Catholics, tending to conceive it more as a key part of their identities – 10% of evangelicals are Latino, a number Putnam & Campbell expect to rise, though not to a dominant share – The Catholic Church in America, on the other hand, is predicted to become increasingly reflective of its highly Latino constituency At this time, Catholic churches relatively diverse, though not without tension ( ) 19

20 Diversity MLK: At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing that Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation. – A legacy of the strong ties between ethnicity and religion Defining diversity – At least 20% of congregation of different ethnicity than dominant group – About the threshold for a group to shift the congregations agenda (289) Note authors caveats re: diversity measurement ( ) 20

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22 Diversity Several denominations less diverse than Black Protestants – Mormons: in America, 86% white – Jews: 97% white – Mainline Protestants: Hemorrhaging members, very few new converts, preserving racial make-up of 1950s peak That said, churches that appear to us homogenous might have been diverse decades ago – Ethnic whites (Poles, Swedes, Lithuanians, etc.) – Race & Ethnicity not static categories (292-93) 22

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24 Religious White Response to Increasing Diversity Common to hear that for whites, religion and racism go hand in hand – But Americans who are more religious or less religious displayed precisely the same liberalizing in racial attitudes over four decades. Religiosity has no relationship to attitudes on race – After the 1970s, different traditions have identical trends of religious liberalization – On the whole, religion has passively adapted to broad social shifts However, evangelicals are notably less likely to support systematic efforts to address racism, or indeed to accept the existence of racism as a systematic problem – Emerson & Smith: Evangelicals have a deeply held individualistic belief system that prevents them from considering systematic explanationsand remediesfor racial discrimination. ( ) 24

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