The Great Divide: Religious and Cultural Conflict in American Party Politics

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Columbia University Press, 2001 - Political Science - 435 pages
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How did the Christian Right come to predominate in the Republican Party? Why, on the other hand, do secular and religiously liberal beliefs largely prevail in the Democratic Party? Our understanding of the rift between the Democratic and Republican parties -- a rift in many ways fueled by religious beliefs -- requires an analysis of the entire spectrum of religious and nonreligious players in the American political process and how their influence has evolved over a long period of time.

Employing a sizeable collection of data on party members, activists, and elites, Geoffrey Layman examines the role of religion in the Democratic and Republican parties, and the ways in which religion has influenced the political process from the early 1960s through the late 1990s. Using a wide variety of sources, including the American National Election Studies -- the major academic survey of the American electorate -- Layman reveals a vast and subtly differentiated landscape of political life and a more vivid basis upon which to analyze the ever-widening chasm between the parties.

Layman investigates a broad spectrum of religious variety, citing differences between African American Protestants, white evangelical Protestants, Roman Catholics, Jews, nonreligious or seculars, and smaller religious groups, as well as political cleavages within these faith traditions. With his broad-based and thorough analysis, he counters the often narrow focus and incendiary rhetoric of many of the "culture war" debates.

  

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Contents

Cultural Conflict in American Society
1
Explaining Religious and Cultural Change
23
Conceptualizing Religion and ReligionBased
53
Religious and Cultural Change Among Party
94
Religious
131
The Changing Religious Face of the Parties
168
The Structure and Sequence
205
How and When Religion
243
APPENDIX A Measurement
345
APPENDIX B Statistical Analyses
363
Congressional Votes on Cultural Issues
407
Index
429
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About the author (2001)

Irwin Epstein has held research positions at Mobilization for Youth and the Institute of labor and Industrial Realtions at the University of Michigan, where he is currently professor of social work. Together with Dr. Tripodi and Dr. P. Fellin, he coauthored Social Program Evaluation and Social Workers at Work.Tony Tripodi is professor of social work at the university of Michigan and is a member of the Editorial Board of Evaluation and Program Planning. He is the author of Uses and Abuses of Social Research.