Turning the other cheek: Reassessing the impact of religion on punitive ideology
Abbreviated Journal Title
religion; Christian fundamentalism; punitive ideology; capital; punishment; public opinion; JUVENILE CAPITAL-PUNISHMENT; DEATH-PENALTY; PUBLIC-OPINION; SUPPORT; FORGIVENESS; ATTITUDES; CRIME; FUNDAMENTALISM; CHRISTIANITY; ATTRIBUTION; Criminology & Penology
Religion has long been recognized as an underlying aspect of correctional policies. Researchers, however, have only recently begun to move beyond considerations of how fundamentalist Christian affiliations might shape preferences for punitive correctional policies. The present study broadens the extant research by examining multiple aspects of religious beliefs and how they affect support for capital punishment and harsher local courts. Analyses of General Social Survey data show that religion has divergent effects. Beyond a mere fundamentalist or conservative religious view, those who have a rigid and moralistic approach to religion and who imagine God as a dispassionate, powerful figure who dispenses justice are more likely to harbor punitive sentiments toward offenders. In contrast, those who have a gracious or loving image of God and who are compassionate toward others-that is, those who take seriously the admonition to "turn the other cheek"-are less supportive of "get tough" policies. In the end, not only is religion a multi-dimensional phenomenon but also its features likely coalesce to divide believers into opposite camps-with one set of attributes fostering harsh sentiments toward offenders and another set of attributes tempering punitiveness and justifying interventions aimed at helping the criminally wayward.
"Turning the other cheek: Reassessing the impact of religion on punitive ideology" (2005). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 5735.