Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Catholic and Orthodox
While I have a lot of respect for both Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, they are not sociologically conservative--at least not as I measure it. I figure a denomination is conservative in this sense if its most involved members are its most conservative. You can gauge the soul of a church by its most active people. If I calculate the correlation between attendance and one's level of political conservatism for a sample of white Southern Baptists (GSS data), I get a decent .28--more religious people tend to be more conservative. By contrast, the correlation for white Catholics is a trivial .11, and Orthodox members are even worse: .07. I know many liberals in both denominations who can be found in the pews every Sunday. It seems like the conservative parishioners are more outspoken (refreshing for someone who spends Monday-Friday listening to loudmouth, university-emboldened liberals). But if you want a church filled with conservatives, you will probably have to go elsewhere.