AbstractObjectiveCombining insights from socio‐criminological theories of (hate) crimes and the moral communities perspective, this article examines how the religious makeup of a county—evangelical Protestant, mainline Protestant, and Catholic adherence rates—affects county‐level hate crime patterns.MethodsZero‐inflated negative binomial regressions were conducted on a unique county‐level data set that included reported hate crimes, religious adherence rates, and related correlates of hate crimes for three distinct temporal periods: 2003–2007, 2008–2012, and 2013–2017.ResultsResults demonstrate that a county's total adherence rate, mainline Protestant rate and, to a lesser degree, Catholic adherence rate are associated with fewer hate crimes. We find no evidence that the evangelical Protestant adherence rate is associated with the number of hate crimes.ConclusionThese results support the moral communities hypothesis, extend research on the religion–crime nexus, and highlight the distinction between religious and secular organizations in community‐level crime patterns, particularly hate crimes.

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