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Religion and Whites’ Attitudes Toward Interracial Marriage with African Americans, Asians, and Latinos

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  • Note: This article represents part of a larger project by the author on religion and nontraditional romantic and family relationships. All data for replication are available from the author upon request.

  • Acknowledgments: The author thanks the editor and the three anonymous reviewers, as well as Robert B. Owens, Jaclyn S. Wong, Maryam Alemzadeh, Yaniv Ron-El, and Jerry Kaufman for their feedback at various stages of this article. Lastly, thanks go to Jill Perry for her support and sacrifice.

Correspondence should be addressed to Samuel L. Perry, Department of Sociology, University of Chicago, 1126 E. 59th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. E-mail: samperry@uchicago.edu

Abstract

Religious factors have been shown to influence whites’ attitudes toward interracial marriage, but this relationship has yet to be studied in depth. This study examines how religious affiliation, beliefs, practices, and congregational composition affect whites’ attitudes toward interracial marriage with African Americans, Asians, and Latinos. Employing data from Wave 2 of the Baylor Religion Survey, I estimate ordered logit regression models to examine the influence of religious factors on whites’ attitudes toward racial exogamy, net of sociodemographic controls. Analyses reveal that, relative to evangelicals, religiously unaffiliated whites report greater support of intermarriage with all minority groups. Biblical literalists are less likely to support interracial marriage to Asians and Latinos. However, whites who frequently engage in devotional religious practices are more likely to support interracial marriage with all racial groups, as are whites who attend multiracial congregations. My findings suggest that the relationship between religion and whites’ attitudes toward racial exogamy is more complex than previously thought and that the influence of religious practices and congregational composition should not be overlooked.

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