Americans have significantly less confidence in their religious leaders than they did a generation ago and more than two-thirds would prefer they not dabble in politics.

Yet, religion and politics are more closely intertwined than a generation ago, according to the new book American Religion: Contemporary Trends by Mark Chaves, a Duke University professor of sociology, religion, and divinity.

“Several decades ago there was not a strong correlation between how religiously active you were and whether you voted Republican or Democrat,” Chaves says. “Now, there is. If you’re religiously active, you’re now more likely to vote Republican. That’s a very important development and is part of what leads people to talk about increasing polarization in American society.”

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