From the University of Florida comes a report of a new study that sees evidence of a vital "religious left," and one that already has had an effect on national voting.
According to a report on the study from the university:
"The research has broad political implications in that it contradicts the so-called 'God gap' theory that white religious Christians are conservative and more likely to vote Republican, said UF researcher Kenneth Wald. He and political scientists from two other universities presented the results to the American Political Science Association in September.
“'We are able to uncover considerable evidence of a religious left among Christians, and the big news is that it matters electorally,' Wald said. 'Having a strong communitarian view of faith is associated with voting for Democratic candidates. Because of favorable political circumstances, we’re in an age where we’re likely to see a flowering of the religious left.'
The study, says the release, contradicts the standard wisdom that white Christians are conservative and vote for Republicans. It also confirms attitudes reflected in past studies by Dr. William D'Antonio and his colleagues in surveys of American Catholics who found social justice to be a prime concern of practicing Catholics.
According to the release on the study on the religious left, "When asked whether 'avoiding sin' or 'helping others' was more important to being a good Christian, evangelical Protestants surveyed were more likely than mainline Protestants or Catholics to answer 'avoiding sin,' Wald said. For Roman Catholics, about two-thirds selected 'helping others' over 'avoiding sin,'” he said.
“Unlike evangelicals, the people who relate to the communal aspects don’t stand out on abortion and same-sex marriage,” he said. “What they really tend to care about are economic issues like unemployment and fair wages that have an immediate effect on human suffering.”
The link above will connect you with the university release. I'm still trying to find a link to the study itself and have emailed a principle author asking for more information. If I find that the actual study exists online, I'll pass that information along. If anyone else finds it, please post a note below.