The way you see God tells a lot about how you see the U.S. economy, a new national survey finds.
About one in five Americans combine a view of God as actively engaged in daily workings of the world with an economic conservative view that opposes government regulation and champions the free market as a matter of faith.
“They say the invisible hand of the free market is really God at work,” says sociologist Paul Froese, co-author of the Baylor Religion Survey, released today by Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
“They think the economy works because God wants it to work. It’s a new religious economic idealism,” with politicians “invoking God while chanting ‘less government,'” he says.
“When Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann say ‘God blesses us, God watches us, God helps us,’ religious conservatives get the shorthand. They see ‘government’ as a profane object — a word that is used to signal working against God’s plan for the United States. To argue against this is to argue with their religion.”
Most (81%) political conservatives say there is one “ultimate truth in the world, and new economic information of cost-benefit analysis is not going to change their mind about how the economy should work,” Froese says.
At the opposite pole, another one in five Americans don’t see God stepping in to their daily lives and favor reducing wealth and inequality through taxation.