This Week’s Mtg, Part II on Religion Values and Conservatism

Stop the presses.  Here is a slow-starting but ultimately insightful view into the difference between liberal and conservative religious values.  It’s from a liberal website but it’s not particularly insulting to conservative.  The basic idea:

Might religiosity be an independent variable [predicting one’s political opinions], one that can override economics? … As you move along the political scale from left to right, [the book being reviewd says], three values become increasingly important: hierarchical order (everyone in their proper place), loyalty to one’s own in-group (defending against outsiders), and sanctity (which…conservatives equate with purity)…

So the statistics tell us that the more conservative you are, the more likely you are to seek out these three values within a religious community—and vice versa. The challenge for liberals is to see how their own policy positions can actually promote order, loyalty, and a sense of sanctity…

The dominant conservative trait, psychologists find, is conscientiousness: impulse control, planning and organizing, following norms and rules. In religious terms, this correlates closely with what Robert Wuthnow calls the spirituality of dwelling: feeling surrounded by walls strong enough to keep out dangers, known and unknown. What right-wingers really want (and plenty of centrists too, I bet) is the feeling of safety they get from orderly, predictable structures that give them a sense of certainty.

He then goes on to make the case that liberal religious values and their political equivalents are not that different.  Read the whole thing (but skim the beginning, which is some kind of book review.)


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