Improving the Electability of Atheists in the United States: A Preliminary Examination

Andrew S. Franks, Lake Superior State University

Section Journal: Volume 10, Issue 3 September 2017, pp. 597-621


Decades of polling data and recent research have demonstrated the magnitude of anti-atheist prejudice in the United States and its relationship to perceptions of atheists as immoral and untrustworthy. Across three studies, I examine the malleability of bias against atheists in the context of election politics. Informational manipulations of an atheist candidate’s stated values (Study 1) and popularity (Study 2) improve participants’ perceptions of the morality and trustworthiness of and likelihood of voting for that atheist candidate, but religiously affiliated participants still prefer a similarly situated Christian candidate. Study 3 shows that participants are more likely to vote for an atheist when the opposing candidate was described as a theocrat. Implications of this research for ameliorating the under-representation of non-religious individuals in government are discussed.

The socio-political dynamics of secularism and epistemological injustice in global justice theory and practice

Erin K. Wilson (Section Chair – 2016 – 2018)

European Societies


This article explores the potential implications for the pursuit of global justice if certain non-secular ways of thinking, being in and responding to the world are devalued, marginalized and excluded by dominant secular norms that presently guide global justice theory and practice. I argue that pervasive assumptions about the nature of religion and the role that it should (or should not) play in public life undermine existing approaches to the pursuit of global justice in theory and practice. Specifically, I suggest that this dominance of secular assumptions constitutes a form of epistemological injustice that contributes to undermining efforts to address material injustices. I explore these issues through an examination of research and practice on global justice, utilizing specific examples from human rights, humanitarian aid and development, and forced migration. I conclude by considering some possible alternatives to dominant secular frames, though argue that these is still in need of further research and development to offer a useful alternative.

KEYWORDS: Religion, secularism, global justice, epistemological injustice, human rights, humanitarianism

Winner – Inaugural Ted Jelen Section Award (2016)

God in the Barrio?: The Determinants of Religiosity and Civic Engagement among Latinos in the United States

Sarah Allen Gershon
Georgia State University

Adrian D. Pantoja
Pitzer College

J. Benjamin Taylor
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Politics and Religion, Volume 9 Issue 1, March 2016


It is often assumed that Latinos in the United States are deeply religious, and that this religious identity plays an important role in shaping their political beliefs and behaviors. A more controversial though unexplored proposition is that Latinos may not be as religious as is commonly believed and that forces beyond their religiosity play more prominent roles in shaping their political engagement. Relying on data from the 2006 Latino National Survey, we examine secularism — measured by church attendance — and civic engagement among Latinos. Our efforts are to analyze the social forces that shape levels of religiosity and find that generational status plays a significant role. Additionally, we further find that while church attendance declines among later generations, second and third generation Latinos have higher levels of civic engagement than their first generation peers, indicating that a decline in church participation does not depress political participation among later generations of Latinos.

God in the Barrio?: The Determinants of Religiosity and Civic Engagement among Latinos in the United States