The Political Influence of Churches

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Cambridge University Press, Dec 15, 2008 - Political Science
Djupe and Gilbert investigate the political influence of church and how membership in organized religious bodies shapes the political life of members. Djupe and Gilbert's goal in this inquiry is to re-center scholarly attention on the voluntary association as an essential element of American civic and political life. They develop a theoretical framework that captures the multifaceted elements of church life that affect individual political attitudes and actions. Political information from clergy, small groups, and social networks flows plentifully in churches, but individuals process that information differently depending on their motivations related to their status in the church. Articulating a more fully specified model of how associations expose individuals to political information and norms will help us understand the political opinions and behavior of citizens and the contribution of that pattern to sustaining democracy.

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Introduction A Theory of Religious Influence on Political Behavior
1 Social Networks and Church Structure Congregations Small Groups Informal Contacts
2 Clergy Influences and Religious Commitment Reconsidered Reconciling Old and New Influences on Political Behavior
3 ChurchCentered Influences on Public Opinion
4 The Resourceful Believer Generating Civic Skills in Church1
5 The Construction of Political Mobilization in Churches
6 Present but Not Accounted for? Churches Institutional Treatment and Gender Differences in Civic Resources
7 Conclusion
Appendix Variable Coding

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About the author (2008)

Paul A. Djupe is Associate Professor of Political Science at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. He is the coauthor of Religious Interests in Community Conflict: Beyond the Culture Wars, The Prophetic Pulpit: Clergy, Churches, and Communities in American Politics, and Religious Institutions and Minor Parties in the United States, as well as articles on religion and politics appearing in such journals as American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Politics and Religion, and Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Christopher P. Gilbert is Professor of Political Science at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. He has written extensively on Minnesota politics, third parties in the United States, and the religious dimensions of American political behavior.