Friday, August 03, 2018

It's Politics Before Religion (Except For You Kneegrows...,}


religionnews |  “Political science sometimes assumes religiosity is a fixed and stable trait, like gender and race – things we think of for the most part as unchanging,” she said. “But there’s a whole literature out there that says it changes over time.”


The idea upends conventional thinking based on Americans’ lives of 100 years ago, when young people typically got married at age 18 and had their first child at 19. Today, young adults leave home for college. Then they take jobs. They marry later in life and have children even later.

During that transition, Margolis wrote, whatever religion they had fades into the background and they begin to form a political sensibility. Only when they’re ready to settle down and have a family does religion re-enter the picture.

“When it comes time to make religious decisions in adulthood, we have these formed partisan identities,” Margolis said.


Sharpening this political-religious split is the fact that many white Americans who end up as Democrats don’t come back to church, while Republicans tend to become more religious to better align with their political convictions. (She concedes the theory does not apply to African-Americans, who are highly religious and vote solidly for Democrats.)

“It may seem counterintuitive, if not downright implausible, that voting Democrat or Republican could change something as personal as our relationship with God,” Margolis wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed. “But over the course of our lives, political choices tend to come first, religious choices second.”