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IMAGES OF GOD AND PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: DOES A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH A LOVING GOD MATTER?*

This study argues that the nature and intensity of a person's relationship with God creates a transposable cognitive schema that shapes people's views toward public policies such as executing convicted murderers. In this context, we investigate whether Americans who report having a close personal re... Full description

Journal Title: Criminology November 2006, Vol.44(4), pp.835-866
Main Author: Unnever, James D.
Other Authors: Cullen, Francis T. , Bartkowski, John P.
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
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ID: ISSN: 0011-1384 ; E-ISSN: 1745-9125 ; DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2006.00065.x
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recordid: wj10.1111/j.1745-9125.2006.00065.x
title: IMAGES OF GOD AND PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: DOES A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH A LOVING GOD MATTER?*
format: Article
creator:
  • Unnever, James D.
  • Cullen, Francis T.
  • Bartkowski, John P.
subjects:
  • Capital Punishment
  • Death Penalty
  • Punitiveness
  • Public Opinion
  • Religion
  • God Image
ispartof: Criminology, November 2006, Vol.44(4), pp.835-866
description: This study argues that the nature and intensity of a person's relationship with God creates a transposable cognitive schema that shapes people's views toward public policies such as executing convicted murderers. In this context, we investigate whether Americans who report having a close personal relationship with a loving God are less likely to support the death penalty. We hypothesize that such a relationship tempers the tendency to see punitiveness as an appropriate response to human failings. Individuals who hold a loving God image are more likely to believe that God responds to those who have “failed” or “sinned” by demonstrating unconditional love, forgiveness, and mercy. Accordingly, support for capital punishment is problematic because it contradicts the image of a merciful, forgiving deity; God's purpose—and admonition to believers—is to demonstrate compassion toward those who have trespassed against others. We test these possibilities using the 2004 General Social Survey (GSS). Controlling for a range of religious factors and other known predictors of death penalty attitudes, the results show that Americans with a personal relationship with a loving God are less likely to support capital punishment for convicted murderers.
language:
source:
identifier: ISSN: 0011-1384 ; E-ISSN: 1745-9125 ; DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2006.00065.x
fulltext: fulltext
issn:
  • 0011-1384
  • 00111384
  • 1745-9125
  • 17459125
url: Link


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titleIMAGES OF GOD AND PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: DOES A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH A LOVING GOD MATTER?*
creatorUnnever, James D. ; Cullen, Francis T. ; Bartkowski, John P.
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subjectCapital Punishment ; Death Penalty ; Punitiveness ; Public Opinion ; Religion ; God Image
descriptionThis study argues that the nature and intensity of a person's relationship with God creates a transposable cognitive schema that shapes people's views toward public policies such as executing convicted murderers. In this context, we investigate whether Americans who report having a close personal relationship with a loving God are less likely to support the death penalty. We hypothesize that such a relationship tempers the tendency to see punitiveness as an appropriate response to human failings. Individuals who hold a loving God image are more likely to believe that God responds to those who have “failed” or “sinned” by demonstrating unconditional love, forgiveness, and mercy. Accordingly, support for capital punishment is problematic because it contradicts the image of a merciful, forgiving deity; God's purpose—and admonition to believers—is to demonstrate compassion toward those who have trespassed against others. We test these possibilities using the 2004 General Social Survey (GSS). Controlling for a range of religious factors and other known predictors of death penalty attitudes, the results show that Americans with a personal relationship with a loving God are less likely to support capital punishment for convicted murderers.
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descriptionThis study argues that the nature and intensity of a person's relationship with God creates a transposable cognitive schema that shapes people's views toward public policies such as executing convicted murderers. In this context, we investigate whether Americans who report having a close personal relationship with a loving God are less likely to support the death penalty. We hypothesize that such a relationship tempers the tendency to see punitiveness as an appropriate response to human failings. Individuals who hold a loving God image are more likely to believe that God responds to those who have “failed” or “sinned” by demonstrating unconditional love, forgiveness, and mercy. Accordingly, support for capital punishment is problematic because it contradicts the image of a merciful, forgiving deity; God's purpose—and admonition to believers—is to demonstrate compassion toward those who have trespassed against others. We test these possibilities using the 2004 General Social Survey (GSS). Controlling for a range of religious factors and other known predictors of death penalty attitudes, the results show that Americans with a personal relationship with a loving God are less likely to support capital punishment for convicted murderers.
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abstractThis study argues that the nature and intensity of a person's relationship with God creates a transposable cognitive schema that shapes people's views toward public policies such as executing convicted murderers. In this context, we investigate whether Americans who report having a close personal relationship with a loving God are less likely to support the death penalty. We hypothesize that such a relationship tempers the tendency to see punitiveness as an appropriate response to human failings. Individuals who hold a loving God image are more likely to believe that God responds to those who have “failed” or “sinned” by demonstrating unconditional love, forgiveness, and mercy. Accordingly, support for capital punishment is problematic because it contradicts the image of a merciful, forgiving deity; God's purpose—and admonition to believers—is to demonstrate compassion toward those who have trespassed against others. We test these possibilities using the 2004 General Social Survey (GSS). Controlling for a range of religious factors and other known predictors of death penalty attitudes, the results show that Americans with a personal relationship with a loving God are less likely to support capital punishment for convicted murderers.
copOxford, UK
pubBlackwell Publishing Ltd
doi10.1111/j.1745-9125.2006.00065.x
pages835-866
date2006-11