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Political Theology for a Plural Age$
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Michael Jon Kessler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199769285.001.0001

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Gauging the Status of Political Theologies

Gauging the Status of Political Theologies

Rhetorical Analysis of the Media Construction of Political Islam

(p.161) 7 Gauging the Status of Political Theologies
Political Theology for a Plural Age

Elizabeth Bucar

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the status of specific theologies in national politics can be accurately gauged through analysis of media coverage. It suggests that the media simultaneously serves as proxy for and source of mainstream logics about the proper public role for religion. It develops a method of analysis that focuses on three rhetorical categories of assumptions, and applies this method to a case study of the media construction of political Islam in the United States, specifically offering a close reading of two 2007 news stories: firstly, rumors that Barack Obama was a Muslim; and, secondly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s address during which he purportedly claimed there were no homosexuals in Iran. The coverage of “Obama’s Muslim Problem” makes it clear that many presumptions exist about Islam. The mainstream media’s presentation of Ahmadinejad demonstrates assumptions about Islam that are widespread and no longer explained by the media.

Keywords:   media coverage, Islam, Barack Obama, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, assumptions

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