Conservative Protestantism and tolerance toward homosexuals: An examination of potential mechanisms

Amy M. Burdette, Christopher G. Ellison, Terrence D. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


A number of studies over the years have reported that members of conservative Protestant churches tend to be less tolerant - that is, reluctant to extend civil liberties - vis-à-vis homosexuals. This paper explores several possible explanations for this pattern. In particular, we identify key aspects of conservative Protestant religious values and worldviews that may contribute to this pattern, and relevant hypotheses are tested using data from the 1988 General Social Survey. Results highlight the role of biblical literalism, as well as specific beliefs about the public nature of morality and the implications of perceived immoral conduct for collective well-being. We discuss the implications of these findings for the understanding of contemporary conservative Protestantism, as well as for future research on the nexus of religion, politics, and democratic citizenship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-196
Number of pages20
JournalSociological Inquiry
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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