For the past 40 years, Catholics in the United States have been more liberal on social issues than their Protestant peers. That’s the conclusion from data analysis by FiveThirtyEight’s Carl Bialik.
“American Catholics consistently have shown themselves to be more tolerant of divorce, gay rights, and unmarried cohabitation than have American Protestants and Americans overall — especially in recent years,” Bialik wrote.
His conclusions come from analysis of the General Social Survey, research completed by the University of Chicago since the early 1970s.
His findings? More Catholics than Protestants in the United States believe divorce should be easier; gays and lesbians should given the opportunity “to speak publicly, teach, and have books they wrote available in libraries,” and fewer Catholics than Protestants believe cohabiting before marriage is wrong.
Internationally, Bialik found “the higher a share of a country’s residents are Catholic, the higher percentage of residents express tolerance toward divorce and towards gays. The effect isn’t huge, but it’s consistent.”
Check out the full analysis here.