Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Everybody loves Jews, Jews most especially

Some findings from a recent Pew Research report entitled "How Americans Feel About Religious Groups" follow.

Allow a few technical considerations to be run through beforehand. The (ir)religious groups under consideration are not defined in the questions Pew posed to survey participants, so the somewhat nebulous terms "Jew" (is it an ethnicity, religious persuasion, either/or?) and "Evangelical" remain open to interpretation by survey participants. The groups Pew inquired about include Evangelical Christians, Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Atheists. 

There is a glaring hole in the lack of a category for non-Evangelical Protestants who are often referred to in surveys like these as "mainline" Protestants. However, the questions don't imply that the groups are either mutually exclusive or exhaustive, so this is an issue of missing data points, not overall data corruption. The results that are gleaned come primarily from the data on page 14, which reports self-described feelings on a scale from 0-100 (higher = better) towards the various religious groups with the responses from those being asked about their own group backed out.

- Jews receive the most positive overall ratings among the eight groups. This holds for white and Hispanic men and women of all ages, though blacks put Jews in second behind Evangelicals. Thomas Sowell's Black Rednecks and White Liberals is validated once again. Nice to see Hispanics assimilating to some American norms, anyway!

- Whites put Muslims at the bottom of the pile. Blacks and Hispanics place atheists there.

- Despite being--or perhaps because they are--the living embodiment of the 1950s middle class America ideal, Mormons aren't rated very favorably by anyone. Among whites and Hispanics they come in ahead of only atheists and Muslims. And among blacks, in front of just atheists.

- Understanding that SWPLs like religions they weren't born into, it should come as no surprise that Democrats put Jews in the #1 spot with Buddhists trailing just behind in second place. Given the tepid response from blacks towards aspiring bodhisattvas, Buddhists might even beat out Jews among white liberals, though it's difficult to say for sure because the data aren't broken out by both race and partisan affiliation. 

- The differences between men and women are marginal. Women are slightly more amenable to the monotheistic Abrahamic faiths--Christianity, Judaism, and Islam--and a bit less friendly towards the polytheistic and irreligious stuff--Buddhism, Hinduism, and atheism--than men are.

- Atheists give as good as they get. While Evangelicals only give atheists a 25, atheists give Evangelicals a similar 28. In contrast, there's a lot of love (and overlap?) between Jews and atheists, with Jews giving atheists a 55 and atheists returning the favor with a 61 score for Jews.

- There's a clear trend for relatively greater affection to be expressed for Muslims and atheists among younger cohorts than among older cohorts. As America becomes more multicultural, non-American traditions are increasingly embraced. Notably, Mormons buck the trend--older cohorts are more accepting of Mormons than younger cohorts are. White America, won't you die already?! Relax, Tim, much of white America is slashing at its own wrists, though Mormon stock is going up, up, up. Ethnomasochism isn't an affliction Mormons suffer from.

- Because everyone loves a Jew sandwich, we'll finish by focusing on the chosen people again. Jews think Jews are the bee's knees. They give themselves an 89, the single highest rating recorded in the entire survey. They despise Evangelicals, however, reserving their lowest score of 34 for those atonement-obsessive gospel goons. Yep, Jews expressed slightly more positive feelings towards Muslims than they did towards Evangelicals, the same Evangelicals who salute the white, stripe, and baby blue. Evangelicals duly turn the other cheek, rating Jews more highly than any other group save for other Evangelicals. Parenthetically, the lowest score was the aforementioned 25 given to atheists by Evangelicals. 


MC said...

Jews make TV and movies, evangelicals (and everyone else) watch them.

Bar Mitzvahs are always joyous and spiritually satisfying occasions when portrayed on screen. Rabbis are always wise and kind. By contrast, Southern preachers are always racist homophobe closet cases, and their followers barely have enough brain power to sustain breathing.

And if it's on TV, it must be true.

I am Mormon, and Mormons are generally philosemitic. Jesus did tell us to make "friends of the friends of mammon," so it makes a certain amount of sense. Goldman Sachs just opened a huge office in Salt Lake City, which is going to employ a lot of returned missionaries.

And yet...

Mormon leadership always denounces the "filth" which comes from the media, and how it destroys faith and families. Because the wildly disproportionate role of Jews in the media is basically invisible to the average American, I doubt that hardly any Mormons (or evangelicals) feel cognitive dissonance about this. That's probably good for our collective self-interest.

In a similar vein, every Mormon has heard a certain quote from a 20th-century Mormon leader, J. Reuben Clark (BYU's law school is named after him), denouncing debt:

Clark was also the only Mormon leader I know of who publicly made anti-semitic remarks. My guess is that he did not feel any cognitive dissonance.

Anonymous said...

The so called alternative right is OBSSESSED with Jewish conspiracy theories. It turns a lot of people off about the movement (or movements as it were).

Anonymous said...

And your point is????

Who cares if Jews like themselves. Catholics gave themselves an rating of 80 and Protestants gave Evangelicals a 73. Big fuckin' deal.

Jews are a tiny portion of the population worldwide. Why so much is written about them negatively is perplexing. We live on a planet where billions of people believe in religion, ancient stories and fantasy to make them feel better and to provide them with a sense of belonging and security.

Jews do not go door-to-door preaching to others about Judaism and trying to convert them. Muslims want to kill them and everyone else who does not think like they do. Evangelical Christians can be just as bad as right-wing Jews and other religious extremists. As long as they have a free 'get out of jail pass' with just believing in Jesus, they are free to do whatever they want.

Maybe the reason that Jews, Christians and Evangelicals rated the best is that it was a study done in America. There is more familiarity with the Old and New Testaments. Eastern religions are foreign to Americans.

Your post is lame.

Audacious Epigone said...


Empirical reality is the point. Polemics are more fun, but they're often unedifying.

No need to get heated up over a little flavor text. Of course, Jews obviously punch way above their weight (see MC above) in media, finance, science and technology, etc, so it's not surprising that the general public is interested in them.

Anonymous said...

Jews despise the white, middle class
Christian, but the Christian, of all denominations, supports Zionism and feels sympathy for the Jew. This is self destructive behavior but the result of the
holocaust narrative, ignorance of the Jew and Talmud, and preachers paid off by the Zionists or a very distorted interpretation of the NT. Whatever it may be, the current control of the propaganda machine favors the Jew.

Dan said...

Jews have their own problems of unrequited love. While Jews do not return the love of the Christian right, the political left does not return the love of Jews toward it.