Religious identity and political participation in the mennonite Church USA

Kyle C. Kopko, Elizabethtown College


This article examines religious identity and its effect on political participation in the context of the Mennonite Church USA. Traditionally, Mennonite doctrine discouraged political activity because of its "worldly" nature. But it is uncertain if traditional doctrine influences the political behavior of contemporary church members. This article seeks to determine (1) to what extent there is a religious identity among contemporary Mennonites, (2) does this identity discourage support for political participation, and (3) if Mennonite identity discourages political participation, what is the substantive difference in support for political participation between low and high identity Mennonites? The analysis reveals that Mennonite religious identity is widespread in the Mennonite Church USA and high levels of identity decreases support for political activity. Despite this, Mennonites as a whole are fairly supportive of political participation, regardless of their level of identity. © 2012 Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.