a1 Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
a2 University of Wisconsin-Madison
While it is well-known that religiosity measures inform modern political alignments and voting behavior, less is known about how people of various religious orthodoxies think about the role of religion in society. To learn more about this veritable “black box” with respect to whether and why people connect their spiritual life to the political world, we conducted several focus groups in randomly selected Christian congregations in a mid-sized Midwestern city. Our analysis offers confirmatory, amplifying, and challenging evidence with respect to the “Three Bs” (believing, behaving, and belonging) perspective on how religion affects politics. Specifically, we show that while contemporary measures of religious traditionalism accurately reflect individuals’ partisan, ideological, and issue preferences, attitudes regarding the broad intersection of faith and politics are perhaps best understood via the presence (or absence) of denominational guidance on questions of the role of religion in society. We conclude by offering suggestions for future survey research seeking to explain the relationship between religion and politics.
c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Amanda Friesen, Department of Political Science, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 504 Cavanaugh Hall, 425 University Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46202. E-mail: email@example.com; or Michael W. Wagner, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 5046 Vilas Hall, 821 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amanda Friesen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. She has published in Political Behavior, the Journal for Women, Politics & Policy, Social Science Quarterly, and the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London—Biological Sciences. She also has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation and University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Michael W. Wagner is an Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has published work related to questions of political behavior and political communication in several journals and book chapters. He has received grants from the National Science Foundation and the Dirksen Congressional Center, was the project director on the 2006 Congressional Election Study conducted by the Center on Congress at Indiana University, and was the 2012 Hazel R. McClymont Distinguished Faculty Fellow at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.