Poll: Americans See Clash Between Capitalism, Christianity
By NICOLE NEROULIAS
© 2011 Religion News Service
Are Christianity and capitalism a marriage made in heaven, as some conservatives believe, or more of a strained relationship in need of some serious couples' counseling?
A new poll released Thursday (April 21) found that more Americans (44 percent) see the free market system at odds with Christian values than those who don't (36 percent), whether they are white evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Catholics or minority Christians.
But in other demographic breakdowns, several categories lean the other way: Republicans and Tea Party members, college graduates and members of high-income households view the systems as more compatible than not.
The poll, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service, found that although conservative Christians and evangelicals tend to want their clergy to speak out on issues like abortion and homosexuality, they also tend to hold left-of-center views on some economic issues.
“Throughout the Bible, we see numerous passages about being our brother's keeper, welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and healing the sick,” said Andrew Walsh, author of “Religion, Economics and Public Policy” and a religion professor at Culver-Stockton College.
“The idea that we are autonomous individuals competing for limited resources without concern for the welfare of others is a philosophy that is totally alien to the Bible, and in my view, antithetical to genuine Christianity.”
The findings add a new wrinkle to national debates over the size and role of government, and raise questions about the impact of the Tea Party's cut-the-budget pressure on the GOP and its traditional base of religious conservatives.