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According to data analyzed by Duke University sociologist Lisa Keister, the median net worth for conservative Protestants in ’00 was $26,000 vs. the $66,200 national median. "The one big difference is the conservative Protestants’ assumption that God is the owner of money and people are managers of it," says Keister. "They are doing with their money what God wants them to do with it, so that does mean that it is not sitting in their bank accounts." Keister argues traditional views of money ("its God’s, not ours") keep many Protestants from building a financial safety net. When demographic factors (education, age and race) were held constant, religion still proved to be an influential factor in wealth accumulation. Conservative beliefs had a larger impact among black Protestants but also remained significant among whites.

(USA Today 4/23/08)

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