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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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The Positions of Clergy on Contemporary Issues of Public Life

The Positions of Clergy on Contemporary Issues of Public Life

(p.105) 5 The Positions of Clergy on Contemporary Issues of Public Life
Pastors and Public Life

Corwin E. Smidt

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the change and continuity evident in the political attitudes held by Protestant clergy over the past two decades. The first section of the chapter examines the issue positions of clergy across a number of issues within three broad areas of public policy: social welfare policy, social issues, and foreign policy. The second section analyzes changes related to the nature of the ideological orientations expressed by clergy, the changing relationship such orientations have in terms of clergy stands on political issues, and those factors that best account for the shifting ideological positions of clergy. Finally, the last section of the chapter examines the extent to which the clergy‒congregational gap in political perspectives continues to persist. Clergy have become more conservative in their political attitudes, exhibiting greater ideological polarization now compared to several decades ago, and the clergy‒laity gap has not narrowed.

Keywords:   issue positions, social welfare policy, social issues, foreign policy, ideological orientations, ideological polarization, clergy-laity gap

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