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The Sciences

Religious people support torture

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanMay 1, 2009 4:49 AM

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John Schwenkler points me to Rod Dreher's shock that religious people seem to support torture more than the non-religious:

And get this: the more often you go to church, the more pro-torture you're likely to be! What on earth are these Christians hearing at church?! Very sad indeed.

John notes:

There are plenty of data showing that Christians' attitudes toward abortion, contraception, and the rest don't differ very significantly from those of the rest of society; the real factor, of course, lies in political affiliations, and I have little doubt that most of the relevant findings can be explained in terms of the fact that frequently churchgoing Catholics and Evangelicals are especially likely to identify as Republicans. "What on earth are these Christians hearing at church?!" asks Rod. Perhaps it's had something to do with there being a moral obligation to support the GOP in the face of the Democratic menace.

There isn't any question about torture in the GSS, but there are questions about abortion and the death penalty. I selected 2 with large sample sizes, CAPPUN and ABANY, and checked how they relate to 4 religious identities, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and None. So on the Death Penalty:

Do you favor or oppose the death enalty for persons convicted of murder?

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And on Abortion:

Please tell me whether or not you think it should be possible for a pregnant woman to obtaina legal abortion if: The woman wants it for any reason?

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Politics & religion matter shaping opinions. But to me it looks like religion has a much stronger independent effect on abortion than the death penalty. If I had to bet, I think torture would be more like death penalty.

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