This dissertation uses the tools of comparative religious ethics to challenge two popular explanations of the rising sectarian violence and the imposition of Islamic law throughout the Middle East. The first contends that liberalism is not gaining traction because it is incompatible with certain "exceptional" features of Islamic history and theology. The second explains the phenomenon in terms of a general incompatibility between liberalism and all religions that seek a public role for religion. This paper shows that it is possible to make religious arguments in support of liberal democracy and that Islamic struggles to do so are in no way exceptional.
This article proposes a new approach to an old question: How does development affect religion-state relations? It argues that because development increases states’ ability to effectively formulate and implement policy, it will be associated with greater state regulation of religion. This stands in contrast to predominant theories that examine development's negative impact on individual religiosity while largely overlooking the impact that development may have on state institutions.
This review synthesizes research about religion in the lives of post-1965 immigrants to the United States, demonstrating the different ways religion influences immigrants’ adaptation in the United States. It considers how religion informs immigrants’ ethnic and gender-based identities, their experiences of civic and political life, and the lives of the second generation, arguing that current research is more descriptive than analytic overall. It then highlights a series of research questions and comparisons to enrich theoretical thinking.
Chaplains in healthcare increasingly work in interfaith roles with patients and families from a range of religious and spiritual backgrounds. This paper explores the two main strategies—neutralizing (using a broad language of spirituality that emphasizes commonalities rather than differences) and code-switching (use the languages, rituals, and practices of the people with whom they work)—chaplains at one large academic medical center use when working with patients and families whose religious and spiritual backgrounds are different from their own.
This research examined whether intrinsic religious motivation combined with an experimental religious priming manipulation would predict decreased moral hypocrisy. A sample of Christian college students completed the Religious Orientation Scale, which tests whether participants will act in accordance with their moral beliefs at a cost to themselves. Half the participants received religious priming prior to the procedure. Intrinsic religiosity predicted decreased moral hypocrisy, but only when religiosity was primed.
Using 2006 General Social Survey data, the authors compare levels of segregation by race and along other dimensions of potential social cleavage in the contemporary United States. Americans are not as isolated as the most extreme recent estimates suggest. However, hopes that “bridging” social capital is more common in broader acquaintanceship networks than in core networks are not supported. Instead, the entire acquaintanceship network is perceived by Americans to be about as segregated as the much smaller network of close ties.
During 2005 and 2006, the study Religion among Academic Scientists (RAAS) examined the religious and spiritual beliefs and practices of natural and social scientists at 21 of the most influential research universities in the United States. The study found that a surprising number of believers teach the sciences at the nation’s top academic institutions. While scientists are indeed less religious in a traditional sense than the general public, the majority of scientists are interested in matters of spirituality and a significant minority is religious.
This article examines the limits of Americans' acceptance of atheists. Using new national survey data, it shows atheists are less likely to be accepted, publicly and privately, than any others from a long list of ethnic, religious, and other minority groups. It demonstrates that increasing acceptance of religious diversity does not extend to the nonreligious, then presents a theoretical framework for understanding the role of religious belief in providing a moral basis for cultural membership and solidarity in an otherwise highly diverse society.
Religious fundamentalism has risen to worldwide prominence since the 1970s. The authors review research on fundamentalist movements to learn what religious fundamentalisms are, if and why they appear to be resurging, their characteristics, their possible links to violence, and their relation to modernity.
This article explores both the origins and consequences of religious restrictions in the global arena. Turning to the consequences of religious restrictions, the article explores how and why restrictions alter the religious economy (i.e., formation, supply, and operation of religions) and are associated with higher levels of religious persecution, religious violence, and intrastate conflict in general.
This paper examines the effect of religious competition on religiosity by looking at state support for religion as a structural factor affecting religious pluralism.
This article develops a distinction between group-targeted tolerance (the focus of previous research) and individual-targeted tolerance, and proposes that individual-targeted tolerance deserves attention because of its important implications for group-targeted tolerance.
This article focuses on Jewish identity as a way of raising questions about the relationship between religiosity and ethnicity; the dialectical nature of assimilation; and the methodological implications raised by defining identity subjectively or objectively for both qualitative and quantitative research.
This study explores immigration reform as a possible new “moral” issue upon which American religious elites and organizations take public positions. It is argued that religion is a key independent variable necessary for understanding the determinants of public attitudes regarding immigration policy. Members of minority religions, notably Jews and Latter-day Saints, are also more likely to empathize with the plight of undocumented immigrants and support liberal immigration reform measures.
Through an interpretation of ethnographies of four very different religious communities, the author argues that there is a deep cultural commonality underlying the diversity of religious expression among the American middle classes. This commonality can be described in terms of religious individualism. But unlike previous accounts of religious individualism, this article emphasizes the ways in which it combines both “seeking” and “dwelling” and leads to both “progressive” and “orthodox” forms of religious expression.
Does religious pluralism decrease religious participation or increase it? Using a formal game theoretic model, this article shows how religious market forces and regulations generate plausible pluralism‐participation correlations, whether or not the direct causal mechanisms argued by either side of the debate exist.
This article examines the Muslim headscarf in light of recent debates about the accommodation of religion in U.S. public institutions. Viewing the law of regulation as productive rather than protective of the subject, this article analyzes how discourses and practices of secularism have been formed with respect to the question of wearing the Muslim headscarf in a variety of contexts.
This paper offers a structural and socio-legal analysis that examines historical, sociological, and cultural factors that have given rise to and promoted the idea of religious freedom in modern human societies. The relationship of pluralism to religious freedom is examined, as is how the pervasiveness, centralization, autonomy, type (adversarial vs. inquisitorial), and discretion of legal and judicial systems impact religious freedom.
Even though all Americans practice and act on their religions under the regime of the First Amendment, the religions they practice, and the way and extent to which they practice them, differ substantially from region to region. The Religion by Region project examines how religious differences throughout America shape and are shaped by the public cultures in various parts of the country.