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The Prosperity Gospel of Coronavirus Response

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2020

Paul A. Djupe*
Denison University
Ryan P. Burge
Eastern Illinois University
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Paul A. Djupe, Political Science, Denison University, 100 W. College St., Granville, OH43023. E-mail:


The sweep of the coronavirus pandemic across the world and the United States offers an almost unparalleled opportunity to study how social systems cope with the threat and opportunities for collective action. In this paper, we draw on survey data collected as the United States flailed in response and before a general consensus among executive officeholders developed in the following weeks. In particular, we assess how holding prosperity gospel views strongly shaped perceptions of the virus and reactions to state responses to the virus. Research on the prosperity gospel is slowly expanding and this paper helps to highlight some missing dimensions. At a time when concerted action for the social good could be uniting the country, prosperity gospel beliefs systematically undermine that possibility by augmenting threat, raising outgroup barriers, and decreasing social trust.

Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association

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