Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 56:1 (2017), pp 179–198.

doi 10.1111/jssr.12322


Copyright © 2017 The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion; published by John Wiley Inc. Used by permission


Evangelical Protestants are less likely than most other Americans to support environmental policies and spending to protect the natural environment. We use almost three decades of repeated cross-sectional data to examine the factors that promote evangelicals’ opposition to environmental spending. Mediation models with bootstrapped standard errors show that affiliation with the Republican Party, biblical literalism, and religious service attendance mediate differences in support for environmental spending between evangelical Protestants and other Americans. The importance of these mediating variables, however, varies over time and by the group evangelicals are being compared to. Differences in support for environmental spending between evangelical and mainline Protestants, for example, are primarily due to views of the Bible, but not at all to Republican identification. The results shed light on the causal effects of religion on views of the environment, temporal changes in the social and political implications of religiosity, the persistence of divisive issues that support the continued existence of culture wars, and the future of government spending on environmental problems in a social context where scientific evidence is filtered through political and religious ideology.