Putnam on faith communities and civic engagement

Higher civic participation:
"It's not faith that accounts for this. It's faith communities."

Harvard University professor Robert Putnam and University of Notre Dame scholar David Campbell is presenting their forthcoming study on how religion in America is reshaping civic and political lives. Daniel Burke at Religion News Service reports:

"The reason for the increased civic engagement may come as a surprise to religious leaders. It has nothing to do with ideas of divine judgment, or with trying to secure a seat in heaven. Rather, it's the relationships people make in their churches, mosques, synagogues and temples that draw them into community activism.

Putnam calls them 'supercharged friends' and the more people have, the more likely they are to participate in civic events, he says. The theory is: if someone from your 'moral community' asks you to volunteer for a cause, it's really hard to say no. ...

The effect is so strong, the scholars found, that people who attend religious services regularly but don't have any friends there look more like secularists than fellow believers when it comes to civic participation.

'It's not faith that accounts for this,' Putnam said. 'It's faith communities.'"

Read more at "The Pew Forum On Religion and Public Life | Religion News". Another comment, which partly lifts up other aspects from the study, is found in Washington Post.

Thanks Arne Rasmusson for this tip!

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Posted by Bengt Rasmusson

Bengt Rasmusson är teolog, förläggare och mediakonsult.

Bengt Rasmusson is a theologian, publisher and a media consultant.

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