Religion and Political Behavior in the United States

Religion and Political Behavior in the United States

by Ted G. Jelen


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The 1988 Election year, showcasing two ordained ministers seeking presidential nomination, made it apparent that religion is an important force on the U.S. political landscape. The result of such visible roles by religious elites raises many questions including the boundaries between the sacred and the secular, the size and importance of various politico/religious constituencies, and the effectiveness of religiously based elite-mass communications. In response, political scientists are devoting an increasing amount of time to studying the interaction of religion and politics. Taking the first step toward answering these questions, Religion and American Political Behavior is a collection of 15 articles written by prominent political scientists. Reflecting the current state of research the articles are diverse and eclectic. They are all written from a behavioral perspective and are based on a careful collection of empirical data. This collection contains a variety of substantive findings that will be of particular value to students and scholars in the social sciences, religion, and political science.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part deals directly with the methodological difficulties of measuring religious phenomena. This section also serves as an introduction to students or scholars with little background in this field. The second part constituting the body of the work, confronts the question of how religion affects the political attitudes and beliefs of ordinary citizens. The final part is unique to this collection. Entitled Elite Perspectives, it consists of seven articles with a common theme: the impact of religion on the political behavior of elite members of society, including journalists, lobbyists, public officials, political contributors, and clergy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780275930899
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/26/1989
Pages: 324
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

TED G. JELEN is Professor of Political Science at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. His main research interests are in the political mobilization of religious belief, the politics of abortion, and public attitudes toward feminist issues. His work has appeared in a number of scholarly journals and books.

Table of Contents


Methodological Issues

The Meaning and Measurement of Evangelicalism: Problems and Prospects by Lyman A. Kellstedt

Identifying Evangelical Respondents: An Analysis of Born Again and Bible Questions Used across Different Surveys by Corwin Smidt

Toward a Mental Measure of Religiosity in Research on Religion and Politics by David C. Leege

Religion and Politics among the Mass Public

Fundamentalism and Economic Restructuring by Joseph B. Tamney, Ronald Burton, and Stephen D. Johnson

Knowledge and Attitudes of Catholic College Students Regarding the Creation/Evolution Controversy by Alfred R. Martin and Ted G. Jelen

Habits of the Mind? The Problem of Authority in the New Christian Right by Kenneth D. Wald, Dennis E. Owen, and Samuel S. Hill, Jr.

The Catholic Vote from 1980 to 1986: Continuity or Change? by Henry C. Kenski and William Lockwood

The New Christian Right and the Mobilization of the Evangelicals by Clyde Wilcox

The Moral Majority as a Political Reference in the 1980 and 1984 Elections by Jerry Perkins

Elite Perspectives

Coalition Strategies of Religious Interest Groups by Robert Zwier

The Politics of Armageddon: Dispensationalism among Southern Baptist Ministers by Helen Lee Turner and James L. Guth

The Dance of Legislation: Church Style by Mary T. Hanna

God and the GOP: Religion among Republican Activists by James L. Guth and John C. Green

Politics and the Ecangelical Press: 1960 to 1985 by J. David Fairbanks

Faith and Access: Religious Constituencies and the Washington Elites by Allen D. Hertzke


Subject Index

Name Index

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