Study finds religious beliefs have an enduring influence on senators’ legislative behavior

By Eric W. Dolan

New research provides evidence that the personal religious beliefs of United States Senators influence their legislative behavior. The study was published in The Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion.

“I became interested in the topic of the influence of religion on politics after moving to the US from Israel. What I found particularly interesting is how the US had seemed like a country in which there is a clear separation of church and state, and yet religious discourse still dominates many aspects of its politics,” said study author Daniel Arnon of Emory University.

“I became curious whether the avenue through which religion entered politics was primarily from the bottom-up — through constituents’ demands and political representation of religious constituents — or whether the mechanism was more top-down — through the religious preferences of the legislators.”

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