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The God StrategyHow Religion Became a Political Weapon in America$
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David Domke and Kevin Coe

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195326413

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326413.001.0001

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 Acts of Communion

 Acts of Communion

Chapter:
(p.71) Chapter Four Acts of Communion
Source:
The God Strategy
Author(s):

David Domke (Contributor Webpage)

Kevin Coe (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326413.003.0005

This chapter focuses on the third religious signal: embracing religious symbols, practices, and rituals by engaging in acts of communion with the faithful. Three presidential acts of communion are examined: political pilgrimages, in which presidents give speeches at religious locations or to religious audiences; presidential proclamations, in which presidents formally signal their support for prayer or other religious symbols and activities; and presidential celebrations of Christmas, in which presidents recognize an important holy day for Christians. These acts of communion are “narrowcasts” — targeted communications that typically are noticed only by a chosen few. In this sense, they differ from the “broadcast” communications discussed in Chapters 2 and 3. As in those chapters, however, this signal increased dramatically in 1981. Since that time, presidents have made far more political pilgrimages, issued far more proclamations of a religious nature, and been far more likely to reference Christ in their Christmas communications — all to the delight of religious conservatives.

Keywords:   religious symbols, communion, Christmas, narrowcasting, pilgrimages, proclamations, ritual

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