Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2008 Volume 4 :: Article 7
2008 Volume 4, Article 7
Religion and the Logic of the Civic Sphere: Religious Tradition, Religious Practice, and the Voluntary Association

Author: Matthew T. Loveland (LeMoyne College), Keely Jones-Stater (University of Connecticut), Jerry Z. Park (Baylor University)

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This article considers the effects of religious affiliation, congregational participation, and religious service attendance on voluntary association membership. The U.S. voluntary sector owes much to the culture of mainline Protestantism, and we propose a theory that accounts for the varying affinities of the major Christian traditions with the U.S. civic logic. Recognizing this history implies that the relationship between religious practice and civic participation depends on the context of such practice. Using data from the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, we find that attendance and religious participation do not have parallel effects on voluntary membership across traditions. Instead, we find patterns that are consistent with the theory that the logic of the U.S. voluntary sector resembles the logic of mainline Protestantism.

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