Sunday, May 27, 2007

Episcopalians, Unitarians and Reformed Jews

Although the Episcopal Church is often considered part of the U.S. "Protestant establishment," a study of moral valuing across a national sample (Wood and Hughes 1984) found that Episcopalians formed a constellation with Unitarians and Reform Jews that stood separate from any other group of Christians. Because these two groups share with Episcopalians significant overrepresentation among elites today, this strongly suggests that the social status component operates in shaping life values.
William H. Swatos, Jr .

Woods and Hughes write,
In order to develop a dummy variable representing conservative religion, we used data from the General Social Surveys. Looking first at GSS samples for years not containing the pornography items, we examined the relationship between religion and a variety of attitudes (e.g. sexism, sexual behavior, abortion, tolerance) reflecting social conservatism. We found a consistent pattern that Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians and "other" Protestants (not Episcopal) were the most conservative. Those in the "other" category, largely fundamentalist, were found consistently to be the most conservative, the strongest believers, and the most frequent church attenders. We also found that persons indicating they were Jewish, Episcopal, did not have a religion, or were in some other religion (i.e., other than those mentioned here) were the most "liberal" on these issues. We then looked at a variety of issues among samples in survey years in which the pornography items had been asked, and found the same pattern.
My emphasis.


Robin Edgar said...

I am not quite sure how Unitarians
got worked into your heading since there is no mention of Unitarians in the rest of your material. Having said that I will state that it is open to considerable debate as to whether the contemporary Unitarian*Universalist aka U*U "religious community" can be properly described as a "church", particularly when one considers that the word "church" is generally considered to mean a Christian place of worship.

How many "churches" do you know that will ordain intolerant fundamentalist atheists as clergy and allow them to preach Sunday sermons in which they dogmatiaclly assert that God is a "non-existent being" and that belief in God "seems primitive"?

Michel S. said...

The cited article, unfortunately freely available only through a JSTOR subscription) does mention Unitarianism:

The comparison category for the religion dummy variable includes those in relatively nonconservative, non-Catholic religions (Episcopal, Unitarian, Jewish) and those with no religious affiliation (page 93)

I've not personally encountered fundamentalist atheist ministers in the UU, though both the ministers in my local congregation are atheists (which does, admittedly, give me some pause)