Subcultural Religious Identity and Public Opinion among Young EvangelicalsJeremiah J. Castle
Evangelicals and Republicans have been powerful—and active—allies in American politics since the 1970s. But as public opinions have changed, are young evangelicals’ political identities and attitudes on key issues changing too? And if so, why? In Rock of Ages, Jeremiah Castle answers these questions to understand their important implications for American politics and society.
Castle develops his own theory of public opinion among young evangelicals to predict and explain their political attitudes and voting behavior. Relying on both survey data and his own interviews with evangelical college students, he shows that while some young evangelicals may be more liberal in their attitudes on some issues, most are just as firmly Republican, conservative, and pro-life on abortion as the previous generation.
Rock of Ages considers not only what makes young evangelicals different from the previous generation, but also what that means for both the church and American politics.
"For students of religion and politics, Rock of Ages will surely be a definitive reference for comparing public opinion and political behavior of evangelical and nonevangelicals across age groups. Name the issue, attitude, or behavior, and you will find documentation of the relevant comparisons in this book.... In Rock of Ages we have a very insightful analysis of the reasons why a political reversal among white evangelicals has not come to pass."
— Perspectives on Politics
"Castle has made good use of the U.S. General Social survey and the Pew Religious Landscape Study, among other datasets, in order to address the question of religious identity and politics among evangelical Christians in the US, in particular the millennial generation.... Many of the reported findings are insightful, if rather unsurprising."
— Journal of Contemporary Religion
"(A) comprehensive overview of the politics of a religious group that is often misunderstood by the media.... Castle has written a highly readable book. The main findings...are interesting. Furthermore, the book provides brisk overviews of many of the basic elements of evangelical politics."
— Political Science Quarterly
"Castle mobilizes an impressive collection of surveys from sociology, political science, and interdisciplinary social sciences to outline patterns in Evangelical youth opinions on political issues over time. At the same time, Castle briefly utilizes a collection of in-depth interviews with Evangelical youth about political topics to supplement—or provide context as stated in the text—for the survey analyses.... The work may provide useful context and background information for interactionist studies seeking to ascertain patterns of continuity and change in relation to shifting social norms as well as analyses of how people do religion, politics, and generational norms in their own lives."
"Castle’s work considers group dynamics and identity politics, highlighting the salience of evangelical influence and the power of in-grouping and out-grouping. In doing so, he correctly notes the intimate and dynamic connection between evangelicalism and the Republican party’s brand of cultural conservatism.... Throughout the book, Castle’s theory about subculture and public opinion (the way change occurs) animates his larger thesis about socio-political leanings of young people.... Castle’s study provides more useful data that further confirms the prickly connections between politics, religion, public opinion, and the ‘teenage mind.'"
—Politics, Religion & Ideology