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Religious Minorities and Support for Immigrant Rights in the United States, France, and Germany

Joel S. Fetzer
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Vol. 37, No. 1 (Mar., 1998), pp. 41-49
DOI: 10.2307/1388028
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1388028
Page Count: 9
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Religious Minorities and Support for Immigrant Rights in the United States, France, and Germany
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Abstract

Scholars such as Ebersole and Wald have explained American Jews' overall liberalism using theories of social standing. This article extends social-standing theory to include all religious minorities, two additional countries, and a particular policy issue -- immigrant rights. If our extended social-standing theory is correct, we would expect native religious minorities to support immigrant rights more than the religious majority does. Indeed, multivariate analysis confirms this hypothesis. In the United States and France, belonging to a religious minority (e.g., Jews and Catholics in the United States, Protestants and the non-religious in France) appears to increase one's support for pro-immigrant policies. Since Catholics and mainline Protestants were equally divided in West Germany, however, being Catholic in this third country did not affect attitudes toward immigrant rights. This solidarity-of-the-minorities effect also occurs independently of subjective religious commitment.

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