The Political Views Of U.S. Religions In A Single Graph

Relying on data from Pew's Religious Landscape survey, Tobin Grant, a political science professor at Southern Illinois University, produced this graph representing 44 different religious groups — and their views on the extent to which the U.S. government should be involved in moral and economic issues.

The Political Views Of U.S. Religions In A Single Graph

Grant highlights some key takeaway points:

  • Churches that are similar religiously are also similar ideologically.
  • Evangelicals are classic conservatives (small role in economy, protect morality). Pentecostals want a larger role for government on economic issues.
  • The Presbyterian Church in America, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and smaller Methodist churches have historical ties to both evangelicalism and mainline denominations. On the question of government and morality, they are between other evangelical churches and mainline denominations.
  • Mainline churches hold similar economic views as evangelicals but want less government involvement protecting traditional morality.
  • Christians in traditionally black denominations and evangelicals are similar in their views toward morality policy, but there is a large divide on economics.
  • Catholics are large and represent the center on both dimensions. Jews are centrist on the economy.
  • There is a major divide between both Conservative and Orthodox Jews and other streams of Judaism. This divide falls along the morality dimension.
  • The "nones" are united on their ideology toward morality (keep government out!) but there are interesting divides on government services. Atheists want more government services; agnostics favor less governmental involvement in the economy.