Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Why Religious Americans Make Better Citizens

 by Julie Hanus

Tags: Spirituality, chuch and state, religion, congregations, community, activism, civic engagement, Robert Putnam, David Campbell, Christian Century,

Religious Americans are up to four times more likely to be active in their communities than nonreligious Americans—and the link is causal, according to new research from Robert Putnam and David Campbell. The scholars have observed increases in civic involvement that come after individuals join a religious group.

“The reason for the increased civic engagement may come as a surprise to religious leaders,” the Christian Century writes. “It has nothing to do with ideas of divine judgment or with trying to secure a seat in heaven. Rather, it’s the relationships that people make in their churches, mosques, synagogues and temples that draw them into community activism. . . . The theory is if someone from your ‘moral community’ asks you to volunteer for a cause, it’s really hard to say no.”

Source: Christian Century