Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 20 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Andrew Kim Taegon and Companions

Is your priest a Democrat or a Republican? Look to the congregation for clues.

Catholic Diocese of Saginaw CC

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 06/12/17

A new survey shows how divided our country has become politically—and it extends to our religious leaders, as well.

From The New York Times: 

America’s pastors – the men and women a majority of Americans look to for help in finding meaning and purpose in their lives – are even more politically divided than the rest of us, according to a new data set representing the largest compilation of American religious leaders ever assembled. Like their congregants, religious leaders have sharply divided themselves along political lines. Leaders and congregants of Unitarian and African Methodist Episcopal churches are overwhelmingly Democratic, as are those of Reform and Conservative Jewish synagogues. Those of several Evangelical and Baptist churches are overwhelmingly Republican. If religious denominations were states, almost all of them would be considered “Safely Democratic” or “Safely Republican,” with relatively few swing states. “It’s a reflection of the ongoing sorting we have in American life,” said Mark Chaves, a professor of sociology, religion and divinity at Duke University. “Why would we think that religion is immune to that?” 

And there’s this:

…There’s also evidence that religious leaders’ politics can simply reflect those of their congregants. Surprisingly, this pattern is particularly strong with Roman Catholics, even though the Catholic Church is a highly centralized organization where individual parishes do not choose their leader. As a group, Catholics and their pastors are a swing state, nearly evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. Yet this masks a wide regional variance: Catholics in states like Kansas, South Dakota and Oklahoma are more Republican, while those in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maryland are more Democratic. The researchers found that Catholic priests’ political affiliations varied just as much, with a nearly linear relationship between the partisanship of priests and congregants across states. That is, congregations that tended to be strongly Republican were, on average, more likely to have Republican-registered priests, and more liberal parishes were more likely to get priests registered as Democrats. “While, logically, there are other explanations for the match between Catholic priests and their parishioners, the most compelling is that the Catholic hierarchy seeks to place their priests in politically congenial places,” said David Campbell, a co-author of “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us,” in an email.

Read it all. 

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
2
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
3
ARGENTINE CHILDREN
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
4
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
5
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
6
PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
7
Visalia CHURCH
J-P Mauro
The largest Catholic parish church in the US will soon be in Cali...
See More