On Income Inequality, Religion More Important Than Political Ideology
Some of the most interesting findings from Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Survey released yesterday were the results of a series of questions on economic and social inequality.
Specifically 6-in-10 Americans agreed that “society would be better off if the distribution of wealth was more equal.” Additionally, majorities of all surveyed religious groups agreed with this statement. See the graph below for the breakdown.
As you can see, the religious respondents stand in sharp contrast to the only groups who seriously disagreed–Tea Partiers and Republicans. The data suggests that in this case religious affiliation was a stronger predictor of a respondent’s view than their political affiliations. As survey author Dr. Robert P. Jones explains in the clip below, this is a rather notable reversal from the general trend.
JONES: On many issues that we look at what we see is that partisanship runs right through religious affiliation. So that people in certain religious groups “fall out” the way that their political affinity would predict that we would
What’s interesting to me on this question–for example the distribution of wealth being more equal–what’s interesting to me on that question is that we actually have all major religious groups–including white evangelical Protestants who are overwhelmingly Republican–saying society would be better off if the distribution of wealth were more equal when only 35% of Republicans agree with that statement.
So if you’re looking for a place where religious dialogue can maybe make a difference in the country–I think when you find an issue like that, especially a fundamental one like that would be a great place to start where a kind of inter-religious dialogue might actually find a way to kind of bridge some of the political polarization in the country.
As Dr. Jones says, this reveals a great opportunity for the 99% movement and progressives to overcome traditional partisan obstacles and speak to religious Americans’ fundamental values on the economy and inequality.