It may seem counterintuitive, but divorce rates are higher in religiously conservative "red" states than "blue" states, despite a Bible-based culture that discourages divorce.
In a new study titled "Red States, Blue States, and Divorce: Understanding the Impact of Conservative Protestantism on Regional Variation in Divorce Rates," which will be published later this month in the American Journal of Sociology, demographer and University of Austin professor Jennifer Glass set out to discoverwhy divorce rates would be higher in religious states like Arkansas and Alabama -- which boast the second and third highest divorce rates, respectively -- but lower in more liberal states like New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Specifically, putting pressure on young people to marry sooner, frowning upon cohabitation before marriage, teaching abstinence only sex education and making access to resources like emergency contraception more difficult all result in earlier child bearing ages and less-solid marriages from the get go, Glass writes in the paper.
“It’s surprising,” W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project,told The Los Angeles Times. “In some contexts in America today, religion is a buffer against divorce. But in the conservative Protestant context, this paper is showing us that it’s not.”
Glass and her colleagues also concluded that the religious culture of the area permeated into the divorce rates of even the non-religious people who lived there. In other words, simply by living in counties which were dominated by conservative Protestantism, people were at a higher risk for getting divorced.
As Glass told The Los Angeles Times, “If you live in a marriage market where everybody marries young, you postpone marriage at your own risk. The best catches… are going to go first.”
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United" (http://johnbrownnotesandessays.blogspot.com/2017/03/notes-and-references-for-discussion-e.html). Affiliated with Georgetown University (http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/jhb7/) for over ten years, he still shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."