Religion and Support for Democracy: A Cross-National Examination

Publication Abstract

Meyer K, and Price AM. 2008. "Religion and Support for Democracy: A Cross-National Examination." Sociological Spectrum 28(5): 625-653.

This article examines citizens' support for democracy across forty-six nations. The authors use multilevel modeling and data from the World Values Survey and other sources to assess individuals' support for democracy in light of broader country-level factors as well as individual proclivities toward religion, politics and community. Findings suggest that the predominance of a particular religion in a nation does not influence individuals' views in and of itself. It does, however, matter when individuals' religious beliefs and practices as well as their civic engagement are taken into account. These factors, even in predominantly Muslim countries, appear to foster rather than hinder positive views towards democracy. But individuals seeking a prominent role for religion in government are likely to be substantially less supportive of democracy. Such antidemocratic attitudes appear countered in a citizenry where many are engaged in conventional political activities, have attained higher social statuses and reside in highly globalized states with Protestant or Muslim majorities and without a Communist legacy.

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