While some research argues that religious pluralism in the United States dampens conflict by promoting tolerance, other work documents persistent prejudice toward religious out-groups. We address this ambiguity by identifying a distinct cultural style that structures Americans’ attitudes toward religious others: support for public religious expression (PRE). Using data from a recent nationally representative survey, we find a strong and consistent relationship between high support for PRE, negative attitudes toward religious out-groups, and generalized intolerance. Addressing the previously overlooked public aspects of religion and cultural membership in the United States has important implications for studies of civic inclusion.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We test our hypotheses with data from the American Mosaic Project (AMP)’s 2014 Boundaries in the American Mosaic (BAM) Survey, fielded with funding from the National Science Foundation (N = 2,521). The survey includes a unique and detailed set of questions to assess both attitudes toward religious out-groups and generalized tolerance, and it has been used in previous work assessing attitudes toward religious others and religion in public life (Edgell et al. 2016). Participants in this survey were recruited through the GfK Group’s KnowledgePanel, a probability-based online panel consisting of approximately 50,000 noninstitutionalized adult members. KnowledgePanel recruitment is based on a patented combination of Address-Based Sampling (ABS) and Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling, which assures that multiple sequential samples drawn from this rotating panel membership will each reliably represent the U.S. population (Baker et al. 2010; Callegaro and DiSogra 2008; Yeager et al. 2011). The particular BAM survey sample was drawn from panel members using a probability proportional to size (PPS) weighted sampling approach oversampled for African Americans and Hispanics. The response rate was 57.9 percent, a higher response rate than comparable national surveys (Holbrook, Krosnick, and Pfent 2008).
The authors appreciate the generous support for data collection and research assistance given by the National Science Foundation (grant nos. 1258926 and 1258933) and the Edelstein Family Foundation.
© 2018, The authors.
- Civil society
- Political culture