American Types: Are you a religious conservative? Graham seems to have first-class credentials as a “religious conservative.” A graduate of both Bob Jones and Wheaton colleges, Graham became the top evangelist in the Youth for Christ movement. His early large-scale revivals were backed by William Randolph Hearst, who admired Graham’s conservative politics and strong anti-Communist viewpoints. In the 1950s, however, Graham surprised other conservatives by integrating the public seating in his crusades before other white evangelists were ready for such a move. In 1957, he invited the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to preach a crusade in New York with him. Do you feel “American”? Americans who travel abroad often say they feel very “American” in another country. Their American-ness stands out—how different they feel from their foreign hosts and how similar it makes them feel to their compatriots back home.

How similar or different are we from one another? Yesterday we considered the “traditional individualists,” one of three major types of Americans I learned about in my surveys of American values.

Religious conservatives” are another type. As their name implies, religion is very important to this group of Americans. Religion is important to traditional individualists as well, but even more so to religious conservatives who give religion the highest ratings of all. Their conservative religious leanings are reflected in their denominational affiliations. The majority are conservative Christians, with most of the rest saying they are mainline Christians. This type includes extremely low numbers who say their religion is other than Christianity or who say they don’t believe in God.

Conservatism extends to political ideology. The majority of religious conservatives are political conservatives. Only one in ten says they are liberal.

Religious conservatives are the least likely to agree with a libertarian view of freedom: that freedom means absence from all constraints to do what one likes. This includes the issue of abortion—religious conservatives are the least likely to say that abortion is justifiable.

Are you a religious conservative?

Or, as we described yesterday, are you a traditional individualist?

Do you think our image today fits the definition of a religious conservative?

What’s your nomination for a better one?

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Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue.

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