Political science research has shown that attending religious institutions promotes Blacks’ political participation by developing civic norms, skills, and networks. Fewer studies, however, examine what role religious beliefs play in promoting the political participation of African Americans. Inasmuch as religious beliefs are at the heart of what binds people to their religious institutions, it is also important to examine how variations in the way people conceptualize their religious duties affect their willingness to engage the political system. Thus, this article adds to the existing research by examining two religious belief systems prominent in Afro-Christianity: the Prosperity Gospel, which emphasizes individualism and divine favor; and the Social Gospel, which emphasizes working to achieve a just society. Using original survey data, the analyses find that the Social Gospel is associated with higher levels of political engagement and participation among Blacks, while the Prosperity Gospel is associated with lower levels.

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