IS THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT DRIVING AMERICANS AWAY FROM RELIGION?

Source: Pacific Standard

BY TOM JACOB

New research finds that, when evangelical organizations raise their profile by sponsoring a high-profile political campaign, a backlash ensues.
A religious cross is seen as the moon is illuminated by sunlight reflected off the Earth during a total lunar eclipse on October 8th, 2014, in Los Angeles, California.

(Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

Religion in America has been rocked in recent decades by two societal shifts: the rise of Christian evangelicals as a right-wing political force, and the increasing number of people who decline to affiliate with any faith tradition.

New research presents evidence that these trends, usually discussed separately, are in fact related. It reports the rate at which people disassociate themselves from religion is higher in states where the Christian right exerts its political muscle.

“Religious attachments fade in the face of visible Christian right policy victories,” writes a research team led by Denison University political scientist Paul Djupe. “There is clear evidence that people—probably those without strong relationships with houses of worship—use the Christian right as a proxy for religion as a whole, and discontinue their religious identities as a result.”

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