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My Brother's Keeper? Religious Cues and Support for Foreign Military Intervention

  • Joshua Su-Ya Wu (a1) and Austin J. Knuppe (a2)


Americans are reluctant to support foreign military intervention. However, if victims of violence are identified as Christians, support for intervention is higher. We term this a “Brother's Keeper” effect as Americans, especially more religious Americans, will support intervention that aids co-religionists. To test our argument, we use a survey experiment that randomly assigns respondents to varying accounts of violence in the Central African Republic. Respondents who read Christians are the victims of violence are more supportive of military intervention compared to respondents who read vignettes that do not identify the religious identities of victims. Moreover, these Brother's Keeper effects are stronger among more religious respondents. We also find even stronger effects when extrapolating results as a population effect with survey weights. Our findings reveal that labeling otherwise unknown foreign actors as Christian have significant effects on support for foreign military intervention.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Joshua Su-Ya Wu, Edelman Intelligence, 131 Shelbourne Road, Rochester, NY 14620. E-mail:; or Austin J. Knuppe, Department of Political Science, The Ohio State University, Department of Political Science, 2140 Derby Hall, 154 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210. E-mail:


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My Brother's Keeper? Religious Cues and Support for Foreign Military Intervention

  • Joshua Su-Ya Wu (a1) and Austin J. Knuppe (a2)


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