Public Attitudes toward Church and State

By Ted G. Jelen; Clyde Wilcox | Go to book overview

issue is posed. Both mass and elite samples seem to believe that multiple values are at stake with respect to questions of religious establishment and that no one value consistently overrides the others.


Notes
1.
We also conducted question-ordering experiments using surveys in large introductory political-science courses at Georgetown and found approximately a 10 percent difference in support for funding Buddhist chaplains between instruments where the item appeared immediately after the question on Christian chaplains and one in which it appeared much earlier. The dropoff was smaller for displays of the menorah -- approximately 5 percent.
2.
The qualitative data revealed that such consideration was only granted to religions that might be regarded as part of a foreign heritage. Members of unorthodox "cults" or atheists were not generally deemed worthy of such protection.
3.
It may be noteworthy that all of the above conversations took place in the Midwest, not in the Washington area.
4.
Religious "particularism" refers to a belief in the exclusive authenticity of one's own religious tradition. For an analysis of this concept, see Glock and Stark 1966.
5.
Because all of the items are dichotomous and several are quite skewed, weighted least squares is the most appropriate algorithm, using polychloric/polyserial correlations. The analysis in this chapter posited that the two pairs of items discussed above had correlated measurement error. Other correlated error was posited for contiguous items, items with identical wording, and items with similar reflection.
6.
Of course, taxpayer funds are frequently involved in displays of the créche or menorah. Yet these outlays are often small, and the question wording focused on the use of public land, not money.
7.
It is interesting that the public sees this activity as involving public funds but does not appear to see the costs of using city land to display nativity scenes and the menorah. Possibly a few respondents see such Yuletide displays as good for business and therefore not involving a net loss of revenue because the government collects taxes on sales. Many probably do not consider the costs of maintaining these displays, of lighting them at night, and in some cases of purchasing and storing them. Of course, in Allegheny County v. ACLU, the créche was owned by and put up by a private religious group, which paid for all costs of the display.
8.
The public display scale exhibited a reliability (alpha) of .70 for the mass Williamsburg sample, .84 for the elite sample. For the funding scale, the alphas were somewhat lower: .32 for the mass, .40 for the elite. The scale dealing with religious accommodation with respect to school socialization had a mass alpha of .51, and an elite alpha of .66. For the Washington area survey, the alphas were .69 for the public display scale, .66 for the funding scale, and .65 for the school scale.

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