Magazine article USA TODAY

Religious Affiliation Still Key to Success

Magazine article USA TODAY

Religious Affiliation Still Key to Success

Article excerpt

Episcopalians and Presbyterians continue to hold a disproportionate share of the top-level jobs in the U.S., according to a study by James D. Davidson, a Purdue University sociologist of religion. "It's partly a matter of networking. Even today, people in the three mainline Protestant religions-Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ--are more likely to have access to power, to corporate positions, and to higher education because of the network that is in place."

While the Protestant Establishment has lost some ground in the last 50 years, the group remains over-represented among the nation's power and cultural elites when compared to its numbers in the U.S. population as a whole, he maintains. Among other religious groups, Jews have gained dramatically. Catholics, on the other hand, have gained, but remain under-represented among the power and cultural elites.

Davidson defines the cultural elite to include educators, scientists, doctors, engineers, editors and authors, artists, actors, and religious and social workers; the power elite includes bankers, businessmen, politicians, diplomats, judges, lawyers, and military officers. "There have been some changes in the nation's elite, but, contrary to popular opinion, the change is relatively small. …

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