American Sociological Association

Challenging Evolution in Public Schools: Race, Religion, and Attitudes toward Teaching Creationism

Researchers argue that white evangelical Christians are likely to support teaching creationism in public schools. Yet, less is known about the role religion may play in shaping attitudes toward evolution and teaching creationism among blacks and Latinos, who are overrepresented in U.S. conservative Protestant traditions. This study fills a gap in the literature by examining whether religious factors (e.g., religious affiliation and Biblical literalism) relate to differences in support for teaching creationism between blacks and Latinos compared to whites and other racial groups. Using a nationally representative survey (N = 9,425), we find that although black and Latino Americans support teaching creationism more than other groups, religion plays a stronger role among blacks in shaping support for teaching creationism instead of evolution. Results add an important racial dimension to scholarly discussions on religion and science and suggest further exploration of race alongside other factors that may contribute to support for teaching creationism.


Esmeralda Sánchez Salazar, Brandon Vaidyanathan, Elaine Howard Ecklund, and Adriana Garcia