THE CHURCH AND CONGRESS: RELIGIOUS AFFILIATIONS AND FOREIGN POLICY VOTING IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

  • Todd Collins Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, USA
  • Kenneth A. Wink The University of Texas at Tyler, USA
  • James L. Guth Furman University, USA
  • C. Don Livingston Western Carolina University, USA

Abstract

Recent literature in the religion and politics area has focused on the effect of various measures of religious affiliation on the political behavior of the mass public. Here we add to the evolving literature examining the influence of religious orientation on political elite behavior, focusing on the U.S. House of Representatives. Method. We use data on the religious affiliations of U.S. House members and National Journal scores of foreign policy voting to test the influence of religion on foreign policy ideology from 1998-2003. Our findings indicate that even after controlling for traditional political factors, religious identity influenced foreign policy voting in the House. African-American Protestants, Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and Evangelical Protestants present the most distinctive patterns. Conclusions. From this analysis we see further indications that religion influences legislative behavior in a way that, although intertwined with political partisanship, appears distinct from traditional political factors.

Keywords: Legislative Behavior; Religion; Foreign Policy; U.S. House of Representatives; U.S. Congress

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