Our Research

Jasper Johns, Flag (detail)
Photo courtesy Steven Zucker via flickr

The Meanings of Democracy Lab's Research Team collaborates with Dr. Ruth Braunstein on a variety of research projects related to the contested moral and cultural foundations of American politics. Current projects focus on the moral meanings of taxpaying (including debates about the public funding of abortion) and battles over American identity and history. 

This is where we will post general updates on our research, and short research briefs by members of the Research Team!

Research News

Profiles in Resistance: Interfaith Alliance

Interfaith Alliance was founded in 1994 to provide an alternative voice to the Religious Right for people of all faiths. The organization aims to uphold the importance of freedom of religion by affirming the Constitution’s protection against any religious group imposing their beliefs on others. It leads several initiatives targeting extremism and threats to religion […]

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The Pluralist Resistance YouTube Playlist

As our team works to build a comprehensive database of the groups and leaders combatting (White) Christian Nationalism, we have compiled a YouTube playlist of videos created by those involved in this effort. Many of the videos feature experts on Christian nationalism in the US and discuss how people are working to resist its influence […]

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Profiles in Resistance: MICAH

  Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope was founded upon the idea of bringing different religious denominations together as one voice for justice. The organization includes Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and other religious communities who, as a collective, act towards civic engagement, criminal justice reform, and economic development, among other initiatives. The We All Belong […]

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Speaker Mike Johnson and the Influence of Christian Nationalism

Last month, Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana replaced Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House of Representatives, making him third in line to the Presidency. Since his election, experts have weighed in on the role religion plays in the Speaker’s life and political views, and his embrace of many ideas associated with White Christian Nationalism. […]

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The Pluralist Resistance Syllabus

As our team begins its work to build a comprehensive database of the groups and leaders combatting (White) Christian Nationalism, we have compiled a list of books that are part of this effort. Some of these have been written by groups and leaders engaged in this work. Others are referenced in public discussions about the […]

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Who is the Pluralist Resistance? Criteria for inclusion

This semester our team is starting to build a comprehensive database of the groups and leaders working to combat (White) Christian Nationalism. We call this loosely defined set of groups and leaders the Pluralist Resistance. We define this field broadly, recognizing that this work is happening across numerous institutional fields; across party lines; across religious, […]

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Christian nationalists have provoked a pluralist resistance

Meanings of Democracy Lab Director, Dr. Ruth Braunstein, has published a new essay at Religion News Service arguing that though the resurgence of Christian Nationalism in American politics has rightfully raised public concern, there is another, relatively untold, side of this story: The most recent rise of Christian nationalism has ignited a wave of resistance.  […]

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Work with us in Fall 2023!

Are you interested in working with the Meanings of Democracy Lab? During Fall 2023, we are seeking Research Assistants to work on two different projects:  Mapping the Pluralist Resistance to Christian Nationalism: – RAs on this team will assist Dr. Braunstein with the development of a database of groups and leaders working to combat Christian […]

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New research on public funding of abortion

In a research note published in the March 2022 issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, lab director Ruth Braunstein, along with coauthors Andrew Whitehead and Ryan Burge review national public opinion data on public funding of abortion: Abstract: An abundance of research examines Americans’ attitudes toward abortion legality and morality with […]

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Coming Soon: “Taxpayer-Funded” Abortion?

During Fall 2021, our Research Team analyzed the debate surrounding the use of “taxpayer money” to fund abortion. From debates about whether the Hyde Amendment should be repealed to whether Planned Parenthood should be defunded, Americans across the political spectrum have turned their attention to this question. While Americans’ opinions on the matter map closely onto […]

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