OneSTDV and Half Sigma have been writing about the link between Jews and vegetarianism. That made me wonder if: 1) Jews as a group are more sympathetic toward not eating meat; and 2) if so, is it simply a reflection of their liberalism. Back when I was a liberal in college, I was a vegetarian for two years. (It sucked.)
Following Half Sigma, let's look a the GSS question, "And how often do you refuse to eat meat for moral or environmental reasons?" (This is a weird question. Most people avoid meat for putative health reasons.)
I reverse-scored the answers and regressed the numbers on whether someone is Jewish or not (sample size = 2,882). The standardized regression coefficient is .049 (p < .01) which means that Jews refuse to eat meat more often than others. Next, I looked to see if, among Jews, the tendency is related to religious commitment. The beta is .165 which suggests more abstaining with more religious service attendance (but the relationship falls short of statistical significance, probably because of the small sample--only 70 people) .
Finally, I added a measure of political orientation as a control to the model with the full sample.
Standardized Regression Coefficients
Including political orientation does little to reduce the link between being Jewish and favoring vegetarianism, so the correlation is not just a reflection of liberalism; it appears to be a cultural difference.
By the way, I despise having to reassure people (I HATED Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate because he defended himself every other sentence) but I don't blame Jews collectively for anything, not even for Howie Mandel.
Another by the way--I really can't be too opposed to vegetarianism as an Orthodox Christian. I'm supposed to abstain from meat and dairy every Wednesday and Friday, and during fast periods like Lent. (I suppose I could blame the Jew Jesus for fasting 40 days.)