Reflections on the Past, Thinking about the Future
The conclusion addresses several topics. First, it offers some reflection on the significance of the study, highlighting some of its important findings. Second, it examines some of the present challenges that confront the centrality of clergy in serving as important intermediaries within American political life. Two major challenges are identified—namely, challenges related to their strategic position in American society and challenges related the authority they enjoy. Finally, the chapter provides some suggestions about the direction that future studies of clergy might take. Four areas for future research are discussed: (1) the political socialization of clergy, (2) the role of clergy in political deliberation, (3) the influence of contextual effects on clergy political endeavors, and (4) assessing the political influence of clergy on parishioners.
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