Evangelicals and Political Tolerance

Document Type



The article explores four possible explanations for the lower levels of political tolerance of evangelical Christians. First, these differences could be spurious, due to demographic differences. Second, evangelicals may be less tolerant of atheists, homosexuals, and communists, but more tolerant of groups on the other side of the political spectrum, suggesting a group effect. Third, evangelical intolerance may be the result of higher levels of religiosity. Finally, the religious doctrine of evangelicals may produce greater levels of intolerance. Using data from a national survey on tolerance and from the General Social Survey, the article concludes that demographic variables and religiosity are partial explanations for the greater intolerance of evangelicals. Group affect seems to play no role: evangelicals are less tolerant of communists, atheists, racists, and militarists. Finally, religious doctrine plays a major role in explaining evangelical intolerance.


American Politics | Christian Denominations and Sects | Christianity | Political Science | Religion