How Faith Moderates Attitudes About Immigration, Race, Identity

How Faith Moderates Attitudes About Immigration, Race, Identity
AP Photo/Hau Dinh, File

Increasing political polarization and rising conflict over identity, race relations, immigration, and L.G.B.T. rights have left two increasingly divided extremes with a seemingly elusive moderate middle.(1) Many have come to view religious institutions, largely due to their opposition to same-sex marriage, as a major contributor to this ever-increasing divide — a catalyst for increased intergroup societal conflict, rather than a possible cure. However, research from the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group's VOTER Surveys (Views of the Electorate Research Survey) find that religious participation may serve a moderating function in our politics, particularly among conservatives.(2) These national surveys find that Donald Trump voters who attend church regularly are more likely than nonreligious Trump voters to have warmer feelings toward racial and religious minorities, be more supportive of immigration and trade, and be more concerned about poverty. These data are important because they demonstrate how private institutions in civil society can have a positive impact on social conflict and reduce polarization.

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