Paul A. Djupe, Denison University, Political Science,

Amanda J. Friesen, IUPUI, Political Science,

Avital Livny, University of Illinois, Political Science,

Matthew R. Miles, BYU-Idaho, Political Science,

We invite you to join us for a monthly set of talks about religion and public life. Across the pandemic, one of the innovations that should remain is virtual gatherings to accompany academic conferences. Though there are many groups and organizations now convening such gatherings, missing from this space has been one focused on religion in public life for the professoriate (that is, beyond the excellent work being done for early career scholars by Shayla Olson and Hilary Zedlitz). This has always been needed since those who study religion in political science and sociology tend not to work in departments that host more than one religion & _____ scholar.

  • Meetings will be the first Monday before the first Tuesday of every month, except during the summer months. 
  • They will last about an hour.
  • We hope to run them from 5-6pm (eastern) via Zoom.
  • Each session will feature two 15-20 minute talks (with 10-15 minutes of discussion). 
  • We’ll aim for subfield concentrations; that may be comparative vs. American vs. international relations, or may be political behavior vs. institutions vs. social psychology, etc. 
  • Anyone with a PhD (or advanced graduate students) in the social sciences studying religion and public life is welcome to propose a talk  –  contact any or all of our conveners (emails above). 

To receive the Zoom link, you will need to register here. You can register for one talk or preregister for all talks (that is, subscribe to the mailing list).

The Inaugural RIPT was May 3, 2021, 5-6pm (eastern), with Amanda Friesen (IUPUI) convening. You can view the recording. The May 3rd Presenters were:

Exposure to Diverse Religious Freedom Cases Promote More Pluralistic Views?
—Andrew R. Lewis, University of Cincinnati, Political Science  

Abstract  Religious freedom politics has undergone a flip in polarity over the last thirty years of the RFRA era, from bipartisan, even left-leaning coalitions to support that is firmly lodged on the right centered on service refusals. But those who care deeply about the “first freedom” worry if bipartisan commitment can be reestablished and sustained. One simple fix may lie in thinking from the Court’s perspective rather than the case. That is, religious freedom politics  is often presented to the public piecemeal, the product of a particular case and predicament. I evaluate how Americans respond to religious freedom cases when presented individually as well as together. I expect that showcasing religious freedom cases together will build tolerance for those undergoing the same plight. In this case, that means that Muslims and Christian conservatives will be seen more sympathetically in law and affect when their religious freedom cases are presented jointly than when they are shown individually. 

Rethinking Religion: How Religious Becoming Reduces Inter-Party Hostility in the United States
—Matthew R. Miles, BYU-Idaho, Political Science  

Abstract Religion is often conceptualized by inputs (believing, belonging, behaving). Yet, most world religions do not have common religious beliefs, proscribed behavior, or methods of worship. Conceptualizing religion by the inputs can make it difficult to distinguish religious people from those who are not. I propose conceptualizing religion by the outputs. Major religious traditions have common virtues they encourage adherents to develop. This paper develops and validates the religious becoming scale, which measures the extent to which an individual reflects the outputs of religious adherence. Not only are strong Democrats just as likely to score high on this measure as strong Republicans; Americans who do not affiliate with a religion are as likely to score high as an Evangelical Protestant. Using a national sample of US adults, this paper demonstrates that religion attenuates intra-party hostility in the United States. The most affectively polarized people in the United States are those who score lowest in religious becoming.