National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Church shopping and the polarization of America

 |  NCR Today

Law professors, June Carbone and Naomi Cahn, wrote a recent book titled, "Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture."

They suggest that "church shopping" is contributing to the polarization of the country.

They begin this essay with a shocking paragraph about Catholic women and abortion (see below), but the real nut of their research is here:

The figures underlie a striking change in the characteristics of American churches of all denominations: in the '60s, those showing up in church on Sunday might have represented a cross-section of American viewpoints; today, they are more likely to reflect traditionalist views, further driving modernists away from religion altogether -- and intensifying what some have called the “devotional divide” in American politics.

The difference in viewpoints between traditionalists and modernists is profound -- and has dramatic effects on today’s culture wars.

Order a gift subscription to NCR, and we'll throw in a little something extra for you. Learn more

Here's the paragraph that begins the essay. (An aside: I wouldn't have begun the essay with this example, because mentioning "Catholic women" and "abortion" in the lede turns off too many readers right at the start.)

"A report this month on who gets abortions showed some surprising results: Catholic women are about as likely as any other woman to terminate a pregnancy. Then again, the striking thing about American Catholics is that they look almost exactly like the average American."


NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

November 20-December 3, 2015


Some articles are only available in the print newspaper and Kindle edition.