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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 Political Norms and Psychological Resources of Clergy

The Political Norms and Psychological Resources of Clergy

(p.131) 6 The Political Norms and Psychological Resources of Clergy
Pastors and Public Life

Corwin E. Smidt

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on changes related to factors that may constrain or enhance clergy political activities. The first portion examines clergy norms in terms of the extent to which clergy express approval of pastors engaging in various activities related to public life and the extent to which change in this approval has changed over time. The second part examines changes related to several attitudes that might encourage political engagement. Clergy express different levels of approval for different forms of political cue-giving and direct political action. Overall, the level of approval that pastors express for clerical engagement in politics has actually declined over the past two decades, whereas there has been an increase among clergy in the psychological dispositions that motivate their political involvement. These norms and psychological resources for political engagement are not evenly distributed among clergy, and, as a result, they are not distributed in a politically neutral fashion.

Keywords:   clergy political activity, political engagement, cue-giving, direct political action, psychological resources, level of approval

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