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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 Activism of Clergy

The Political Activism of Clergy

(p.174) 8 The Political Activism of Clergy
Pastors and Public Life

Corwin E. Smidt

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the political activism of clergy outside the context of congregational life. It first analyzes the political topics that clergy report they address publicly with regularity, the resulting particular political agendas advanced by clergy, and the changing relative emphasis given to such agendas over time. The second portion of the chapter examines the reported activities of clergy related to political campaigns, political contacting, and political protesting, along with changes in the reported levels of such activities. The final portion of the chapter examines the changing partisan nature of clergy engagement in politics. Clergy have shifted to placing an increased emphasis on a social justice as opposed to moral reform agenda, are no more political active today than two decades ago, have exhibited considerable change in the partisan identifications they hold, and have become more polarized politically over time.

Keywords:   political activism, political agendas, social justice agenda, moral reform agenda, political campaigning, political contacting, political protesting, partisan identifications, partisan polarization

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