Social Science Research Council Research AMP Mediawell

The Politics of Religions Prejudice and Tolerance for Cultural Others

Stewart, Evan; Edgell, Penny; Delehanty,
The Sociological Quarterly

While some research argues that religious pluralism in the United States dampens conflict by promoting tolerance, other work documents persistent prejudice toward religious out-groups. We address this ambiguity by identifying a distinct cultural style that structures Americans’ attitudes toward religious others: support for public religious expression (PRE). Using data from a recent nationally representative survey, we find a strong and consistent relationship between high support for PRE, negative attitudes toward religious out-groups, and generalized intolerance. Addressing the previously overlooked public aspects of religion and cultural membership in the United States has important implications for studies of civic inclusion.