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Religiosity and Prejudice against Ethnic Minorities in Europe: Cross-National Tests on a Controversial Relationship

Peer Scheepers, Mèrove Gijsberts and Evelyn Hello
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 43, No. 3 (Mar., 2002), pp. 242-265
DOI: 10.2307/3512331
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3512331
Page Count: 24
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Religiosity and Prejudice against Ethnic Minorities in Europe: Cross-National Tests on a Controversial Relationship
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Abstract

In this contribution we argue that previous research on religiosity and prejudice against ethnic minorities has been seriously hampered. Therefore, we set out to establish the relationship between different dimensions of religiosity and prejudice in 11 cross-national European samples, employing comparable measurements of religiosity, controlling for individual and national characteristics. A crucial finding is that Catholics and Protestants support prejudice against ethnic minorities more than non-religious people. It turns out that the more frequently people attend church, the more they are prejudiced. Subscribing to doctrinal beliefs reduces prejudice. The more salient religiosity is in people's lives and the more spirituality they experience, the more they dissociate from prejudice. However, the stronger people subscribe to religious particularism, the stronger their prejudice is. We would like to emphasize that the effects of religiosity are equal across countries and not spurious: controlling for other relevant individual and national characteristics does not substantially reduce the effects of specific dimensions of religiosity on prejudice against ethnic minorities.

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