Tuesday, December 07, 2010

American Grace 9: The Religious are More Civic

Religious people give more and do more for religious and secular life than secular people do.

People in religious networks give and do more than people with religious beliefs but no networks.

People who profess no religion, but who nonetheless go to church sometimes, give and do more than their co-(non)-religionists who do not go to church.

Arthur Brooks, who I have written about before, says that conservatives give and do more than liberals. Putnam and Campbell find that this is because conservatives are more likely to be religious. Secular conservatives are not notably giving or civic-minded. In fact, American Grace argues,

“According to the best available evidence, the ‘civic good guys’ are more often religious liberals, not religious conservatives.”


Alex said...

Does this finding (that the 'civic good guys' are religious liberals, not conservatives) change when you control for income?

For example, my own experience shows that religious liberals tend to be confined to the middle and upper middle classes -- with (perhaps?) the same African American exception that you mentioned in your previous post -- while religious conservatives can't be as neatly placed into an income bracket. I've heard that charitable giving tends to be lower among the wealthier classes (which I guess would prove even more strongly that being religious and liberal makes you more likely to give), but I still wonder if income could be some sort of hidden variable in all this -- after all they including "doing more," not just "giving more" in their definition of "being more civic."

Gruntled said...

They do not give the income spread of each level of religiosity. They do, though, say this - in italics:

“Every significant generalization in this chapter remains accurate when we control simultaneously for gender, education, income, race, region, homeownership, length of residence, marital and parental status, ideology, and age.”