American Republican Religion? Disentangling the
Causal Link Between Religion and Politics in the US
Published online: 5 February 2008
Ó Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008
Abstract Recent research in American political behavior has examined at length
the link between evangelical Protestants and the Republican Party. These works
however do not consider the idiosyncratic nature of religiosity in the US, and insist
on treating religion as an ‘unmoved mover’ with respect to political contexts. The
question posed herein is: during the participation of religious communities in par-
tisan politics, should we expect politics to eventually constrain religious behavior?
Motivated by a political social identity approach, I use American National Election
Study panel data and structural equation modeling techniques to explore the
untested possibility that religious and political factors are linked through reciprocal
causation. Conditional upon religious and temporal context, ﬁndings highlight the
causal impact of ideology and partisanship in shaping religious behavior.
Keywords Religious politicization Á Church attendance Á Party identiﬁcation Á
Ideology Á Social identity theory
The nexus between religion and politics in violent and non-violent conﬂicts tends to
generate global scholarly and popular attention. American society in particular
serves as a proverbial case, where the peaceful but vocal participation of religious
With apologies to Alexis de Tocqueville.
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11109-008-9053-1)
contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
S. Patrikios (&)
Department of Government, University of Strathclyde, McCance Building, 16 Richmond St.,
Glasgow G1 1XQ, UK
Polit Behav (2008) 30:367–389