One of the goals of my research agenda is to make my work accessible to a larger audience who will hopefully get a more nuanced and objective understanding of the interaction of politics and religion. Below are links to my work that has appeared in outlets that appeal to a general audience.

Almost No One in the US Believes in a ‘Consistent Ethic of Life’


The Catholic Church has articulated a theological position called, “a consistent ethic of life.” This calls for life to be protected at all it’s stages, including opposition to abortion, assisted suicide, and the death penalty. However, how many Americans actually hold those views. My findings indicate that the number is around 4% and seems to show no signs of increasing.

Full Post Here. 

Young, Female, and Pro-Trump


Using data from the 2016 CCES, I wanted to understand how support for Donald Trump was impacted by the gender of evangelical Christians. Somewhat surprisingly, young, white, evangelical women were actually more stronger for the GOP nominee than their male counterparts.


Here’s a link to Religion in Public 

Are White Evangelicals Really Dying Out? There May Be a ‘Big Problem’ With That Media Narrative

Andrew Lewis and I conducted some statistical analysis to determine whether white evangelicals were actually losing market share in the American religious landscape. We published that on Religion in Public website and it received some media attention including a write-up from Faithwire. In sum, there is little evidence to conclude that white evangelicals have declined in the last decade, while their numbers are down considerably since the late 1990’s.

Full Post Here. 

Only 60 Percent of Evangelicals Voted for Trump?


There’s a tremendous debate in religion and politics about the definition of the term “evangelical.” This article is an interview I did with the Christian Post regarding the difficulty in defining the term. I discuss how changing the racial makeup of evangelicals, or using the concept of “born-again” can radically change how many evangelicals cast their vote for Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election.


Full Post Here. 

Founding Editor, Religion in Public


Myself and a number of colleagues who study religion and politics wanted to create a forum for scholarship in our sub-field to reach a wider audience. We believe that academics engaging in public scholarship can help shape the debate based on empirical evidence instead of heated, partisan rhetoric. I have published a number of posts regarding text analysis, machine learning, and the measurement of evangelicalism.

Here’s a link to Religion in Public 

Some evangelicals question whether they have overlooked the rural church

I was contacted by Sarah Pulliam Bailey from the Washington Post and asked to do some geographic analysis of the 2016 Presidential Election. Sarah was especially interested in how Donald Trump fared in rural, strongly evangelical counties. I used a combination of early county level data from the 2016 election as well as religious census data from 2010, which was freely available online.

In addition to the Washington Post article, here is a more thorough write-up of my analysis including the necessary R code.

Full Post Here. 

Six words Trump never said to evangelicals

One of Donald Trump’s hardest “sells” is to evangelicals. He has made a number of  serious blunders on the campaign trial in trying to win over evangelicals who are unsure of his faith and morality. In order to try and reach out to this important voting bloc, he had a meeting with several hundred evangelical leaders. It was supposed to be private, but several people snuck in recorded devices and websites began to publish transcripts of this meeting.

I did a textual analysis of Donald Trump’s words and compared those to how the evangelicals spoke in the meeting. My analysis concluded that Trump is very hesitant to use words that are typical of evangelicals like “prayer” and “Jesus.”

Full Post Here. 

Script of the Week: Hipster Names


When I wanted to enhance my abilities in programming and statistical analysis, I began to look around the internet for interactive learning sites as well as places that I could download some interesting data sets. I stumbled on Kaggle, which is a terrific resource for not just finding good data, but also doing analysis and showing it to other people in a really user friendly way.

The first data I looked at was the Social Security Administration’s names database. My first post on Kaggle was about the return of “old time” or “hipster” names. Surprisingly enough, my first post on Kaggle was chosen as “Script of the Week,” for March 11th.

Full Post Here 

Trump won big in the Bible Belt (and lots of mini-Bible Belts outside the South)

One of the great things about our current electoral system is how much data is available to researchers. The rise of Donald Trump has been fascinating to watch for political scientists because it defies a lot of what is convention wisdom in the field.

I found two pieces of data that I wanted to compare: Trump’s vote share in primaries at the county level, and also the evangelical adherence rates per county for the United States. I found that in the South, there was no relationship between the two. However, evangelicalism mattered more in the other regions of the United States.

Full Post Here. 

Why is Trump appealing? Religious authoritarians and democracy don’t mix

An extension of my previous post on the impact of religious authority on democratic norms and deliberative values. This post provides a possible explanation for the rise in evangelical voters for Donald Trump.

Full Post Here. 

How does Trump attract religious conservatives? Here’s one possibility

One of my work’s in progress is focusing on the development of a measure of religious authority. With the recent rise of Donald Trump as the likely Republican nominee, some social scientists argue that he has tapped into a latent personality: authoritarianism.

In this post I argue that while religious conservatives are more likely to have support more religious authority, the relationship is not perfectly correlated.

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Myth of the evangelical voter? It depends on meaning of “evangelical”

My dissertation used the technique of propensity score matching to try and distinguish how evangelicals are different than other types of religiosity. This post describes how using evangelicals differs than using those who identify as “born again”

Full Post Here. 

The Emerging Church Is What It Says It Is


Tony Jones was one of the earliest leaders of the Emergent Movement and did a nice write up of our article, ““Emergent Church Practices in America: Inclusion and Deliberation in American Congregations” which was published in the Review of Religious Research.

Full Post Here. 

Study Shows Emergent Is Not As Liberal As You Thought

On his blog Theoblogy, Tony Jones covers a variety of topics related to American Christianity, theology, and sometimes politics.

Tony’s writing is some of the most influential in the Emergent Church Movement and he was intrigued to see that scholars were published research on the topic.

He summarized my piece with Paul Djupe, “Truly Inclusive or Uniformly Liberal? A Analysis of the Politics of the Emerging Church,” which was published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Full Post Here. 

The Southern Baptist Division of 1993: Ryan Burge

WSIU asked me to make a contribution to the Southern Illinois Wonders Series. My specific radio program was about the split that occurred in the faculty of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

Full Post Here.