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Friday, June 27, 2008

God's Absentee Ballot

A group of professors at Baylor University have published the results of a study that shows that a person's view of God's role in the world can influence how likely the person is to support a political campaign, read about politics, or vote. Evangelical Protestants and others who view God as directly active in world affairs were the least likely to vote in the 2004 election, most likely because they felt confident that God would choose the "best" candidate. "It can be reasoned that if one believes God determines worldly affairs, then there is little reason for individuals to participate in civic events," the researchers write in the current issue of Social Science Quarterly. On the other hand, those who are part of religious groups that tend to view God as taking a less active role in the world, such as Jews and mainline Protestants, were much more likely to engage in political activities.
The study also showed that people who pray about "general world concerns" and feel that actively seeking social and economic justice is an important aspect of faith are at least five percent more likely to be politically involved than those who don't. —Stephen Mapes