Religion and Interracial Romance: The Effects of Religious Affiliation, Public and Devotional Practices, and Biblical Literalism


  • This article represents part of a larger project by the author on religion and interracial romantic and family relationships. All data for replication are available from the author upon request. The author would like to thank the editor and 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 and to Jill Perry for her support and sacrifice.



This study examines how religious affiliations, salience, beliefs, and practices influence engagement in interracial dating or romance.


Bivariate and multivariate analyses are employed using data from the 2007 Baylor Religion Survey (N = 1,268). Logistic regression models are estimated in order to determine how certain dimensions of religious life predict whether one has engaged in interracial dating or romance, net of sociodemographic and ideological controls.


Relative to evangelicals, mainline Protestants are less likely to have engaged in interracial romance. Those who frequently attend church and affirm biblical literalism are less likely to have dated across race, but those who engage in devotional practices such as prayer and sacred text reading are more likely to have interracialy dated.


The relationship between religion and interracial romance is more complex than previously thought. Future studies should both acknowledge and account for this complexity in their analyses.