For some, the battle lines over environmental policy are drawn on religious—not necessarily political—grounds, suggests a new study by sociologists at the University of Nebraska and Washington State University.
The study in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion found that religious ideologies are driving opposition to environmental spending. More specifically, evangelical Protestants—usually perceived as the most conservative of Christians—are less likely to support environmental spending based on a literal interpretation of the Bible.
The findings were culled from surveys collected from 1984 to 2012. Study co-author Erik Johnson, WSU associate professor of sociology, looked at three possible causes of evangelicals’ opposition to environmental spending: church attendance, political affiliation and biblical literalism. Only biblical literalism played a significant role across all three decades studied, and when comparing evangelicals to all other religious groups.
The findings may also explain why President Donald Trump felt core supporters would approve of his June 1 action to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, despite its favorability to the general public. Evangelical Protestants, who largely supported Trump, tend to disagree.
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