We've discussed how the more educated surprisingly are more likely to attend church. Another study found that while religious attendance is dropping overall, it is dropping faster in less educated whites.
“Our study suggests that the less-educated are dropping out of the American religious sector, similarly to the way in which they have dropped out of the American labor market,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, who was lead researcher on the project…..So, while many tend to think that religion is the pablum for the uneducated masses, that's too simplistic a view.
The study focuses on white Americans because church attendance among blacks and Latinos is less divided by education and income.
Lower church attendance among the less-educated may stem from a disconnect between them and modern church values, the study theorizes.This concern makes sense. A few weeks ago, I described how the bad economy is affecting marriage, particularly amongst those most likely to be suffering. And those are largely red-state citizens. Less likely to be married. Less likely to go to church. And the less educated you are, the more likely you are to be jobless.
Religious institutions tend to promote traditional middle-class family values like education, marriage and parenthood, but less-educated whites are less likely to get or stay married and may feel ostracized by their religious peers, the researchers said.
The researchers expressed concern about the falloff in church attendance among the less-educated.
“This development reinforces the social marginalization of less educated Americans who are also increasingly disconnected from the institutions of marriage and work,” said Andrew Cherlin, co-author of the study and a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University.
These observations suggest a segment of American society that is falling further behind, losing social cohesion and connection. It's not surprising they are angry and resentful. They may still identify as Christian, but it's a tribal identity, rather than a religious one. And it's a recipe for social disaster.