Michele MargolisAug 28, 2018
From Politics to the Pews
How Partisanship and the Political Environment Shape Religious Identity
University of Chicago Press 2018
On this American Political Science Association special podcast, we welcome a special guest host – and former guest of the podcast – Andy Lewis. In addition to his recent book, The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics, Andy is a contributor to the Religion in Public blog and is associate professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati. Andy and I had the real pleasure to talk with Michele Margolis about her new book From Politics to the Pews: How Partisanship and the Political Environment Shape Religious Identity (University of Chicago Press, 2018). Margolis is assistant professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. The central argument of From Politics to the Pews is that a solid partisan identity forms before a solid religious identity, thus partisanship can inform religious behavior in ways that we may not have fully understood in the past. Margolis argues that many Americans step away from religion in early adulthood, returning later at the point of decisions about marriage and children. This break in religious activity and practice – though not necessarily in faith or belief-- happens as partisan identity and behaviors have already set in. She relies on a wide variety of data to show how this happens and the implications for the relationship between partisanship, religion, and political behavior.