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Pastors and Public Life$
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Corwin E. Smidt

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190455491

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190455491.001.0001

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Clergy as Public Actors

Clergy as Public Actors

(p.20) 1 Clergy as Public Actors
Pastors and Public Life

Corwin E. Smidt

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with an analytical consideration of those factors that contribute to the political significance of clergy: their strategic position in society, the distinctive nature of the organizations they lead, the nature of the authority they possess, the resources at their disposal, and the opportunities they enjoy. The second section discusses the different roles that can be assumed by pastors (i.e., private citizen, religious professional, and pastor of a local congregation) and argues that it is in their capacity as pastors of local congregations that clergy collectively enjoy their greatest political potential. Clergy typically engage in public life through either direct action or political cue-giving, with political cue-giving being the primary means by which clergy seek to influence their parishioners. The final section of the chapter then discusses the role of cues in democratic theory.

Keywords:   political significance, strategic position, authority, direct action, cue-giving, democratic theory, pastor, clergy, congregation, parishioners

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