This chapter focuses on the first religious signal: speaking the language of the faithful. Two types of presidential communications — invocations of God and invocations of faith — are examined in all major presidential speeches since the Inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. The evidence reveals dramatic increases in both types of language beginning in 1981 with the Inauguration of Ronald Reagan. Since that time, presidents have made direct references to God a more consistent and more prominent part of their public speeches. They have also made invocations of faith — using terms such as Bible, blessing, church, crusade, mission, pray, and the like — a more prominent part of their speeches. Further evidence reveals that these changes cannot be accounted for by political party, the occurrence of war, or the prospect of facing a re-election campaign. Regardless of these factors, the past four presidents have engaged in religious politics in a way that previous modern presidents did not.
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