Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-559fc8cf4f-lzpzj Total loading time: 0.28 Render date: 2021-03-07T12:36:43.824Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

Communicating in Good Faith? Dynamics of the Christian Right Agenda

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2020

Angelia R. Wilson
Affiliation:
University of Manchester
Paul A. Djupe
Affiliation:
Denison University
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

It is an article of faith that organized interests represent members to elected officials making use of synchronized communication channels. Rarely, if at all, have researchers had access to multiple, internal, and external channels to test this notion. We mine a trove of nearly 2,500 emails the Family Research Council (FRC) sent to list subscribers from 2007 to 2018. Text tools allow us to depict message flexibility of the FRC. We then consider how internal and external messages may be linked by examining the issue content of emails in relation to press releases. Finally, we note the bills lobbied by FRC and the frequency these are mentioned in the internal email messages. Our findings are twofold. First, they support the conditional independence of communication channels in ways that appear to conform to the requisites of the different audiences: elected officials are likely mobilized by different signals than members are. Second, our evidence shows that the flexibility organized interests have in composing their communications can mean that different audiences are presented with considerably different political agendas. While FRC has significant sophisticated message flexibility, our data set indicates that such flexibility can raise serious concerns about good faith representation.

Type
Article
Copyright
Copyright © Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

Footnotes

The authors wish to thank Ken Wald, Anthony Nownes, and Jennifer Wolak for their helpful feedback.

We wish to thank Tony Nownes, Steven Kettell, Rachel Gibson, Ken Wald, Andrea Hatcher, and David Buckley for their helpful feedback on earlier versions of this paper, in addition to our thanks to the guest editor Bethany Albertson and the two anonymous reviewers for their help in honing the arguments and presentation.

References

Achen, Christopher H., and Bartels, Larry M.. 2017. Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Ainsworth, Scott, and Sened, Itai. 1993. “The Role of Lobbyists: Entrepreneurs with Two Audiences.” American Journal of Political Science 37 (3): 834866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Andrews, Kenneth T., and Edwards, Bob. 2004. “Advocacy Organizations in the U.S. Political Process.” Annual Review of Sociology 30: 479506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Andsager, Julie. 2000. “How Interest Groups Attempt to Shape Public Opinion with Competing New Frames.” Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 77 (3): 577592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bauer, Raymond A., de Sola Pool, Ithiel, and Dexter, Lewis A.. 1963. American Business and Public Policy. New York: Atherton.Google Scholar
Baumgartner, Frank R., Berry, Jeffrey M., Hojnacki, Marie, Kimball, David C., and Leech, Beth L.. 2009. Lobbying and Policy Change: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baumgartner, Frank R., and Jones, Bryan D.. 1993. Agendas and Instability in American Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Baumgartner, Frank R., and Leech, Beth L.. 1998. Basic Interests: The Importance of Groups in Politics and in Political Science. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baumgartner, Frank R., Linn, Suzanna, and Boydstun, Amber E.. 2009. “The Decline of the Death Penalty.” In Winning with Words: The Origins and Impact of Political Framing. New York: Routledge, 159184.Google Scholar
Bentley, Arthur F. 1995[1908]. The Process of Government: A Study of Social Pressures. New Brunswick: Transaction.Google Scholar
Beyers, Jan. 2004. “Voice and Access: Political Practices of European Interest Associations.” European Union Politics 5 (2): 211240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brader, Ted. 2006. Campaigning for Hearts and Minds: How Emotional Appeals in Political Ads Work. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Brader, Ted, and Marcus, George. 2013. “Emotion and Political Psychology.” In The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology, eds. Huddy, Leonie, Sears, David O., and Levy, Jack S.. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 165204.Google Scholar
Browne, William P. 1998. “Lobbying the Public: All Directional Advocacy.” In Interest Group Politics, eds. Cigler, Allan J. and Loomis, Burdett. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 343363.Google Scholar
Calfano, Brian R. 2010. “Prophetic At Any Price? Clergy Political Behavior and Utility Maximization.” Social Science Quarterly 90 (1): 88102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Calfano, Brian R., and Djupe, Paul A.. 2009. “God Talk: Religious Cues and Electoral Support.” Political Research Quarterly 62 (2): 329339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Campbell, David E., and Quin, Monson J.. 2008. “The Religion Card: Gay Marriage and the 2004 Presidential Election.” Public Opinion Quarterly 72 (3): 399419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Carnes, Nicholas, and Holbein, John B.. N.D. “Do Public Officials Exhibit Social Class Biases when they Handle Casework? Evidence from Multiple Correspondence Experiments.” Unpublished manuscript. http://people.duke.edu/~nwc8/carnes_and_holbein.pdf.Google Scholar
Chalmers, Adam W., and Shotton, Paul A.. 2016. “Changing the Face of Advocacy? Explaining Interest Organizations’ Use of Social Media Strategies.” Political Communication 33: 374391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chong, Dennis, and Druckman, James N.. 2008. “Framing Public Opinion in Competitive Democracies.” American Political Science Review 101: 637655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cooper, Betsy, Cox, Daniel, Lienesch, Rachel, and Jones, Robert P.. 2016. “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: Attitudes on LGBT Nondiscrimination Laws and Religious Exemptions from the 2015 American Values Atlas.” Public Religion Research Institute, February 18. Available at http://www.prri.org/research/poll-same-sex-gay-marriage-lgbt-nondiscrimination-religious-liberty.Google Scholar
Davis, Darren W., and Silver, Brian D.. 2004. “Civil Liberties vs. Security: Public Opinion in the Context of the Terrorist Attacks on America.” American Journal of Political Science 48 (1): 2846.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Diamant, Jeff, and Alper, Becka A.. 2017. “Though Still Conservative, Young Evangelicals are More Liberal Than Their Elders on Some Issues.” http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/05/04/though-still-conservative-young-evangelicals-are-more-liberal-than-their-elders-on-some-issues/.Google Scholar
Drake, Bruce. 2013a. “Fewer Americans Have Negative Views of More Gays Raising Children.” http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/25/fewer-americans-have-negative-views-of-more-gays-raising-children/.Google Scholar
Drake, Bruce. 2013b. “As More Americans Have Contacts with Gays and Lesbians, Social Acceptance Rises.” http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/18/as-more-americans-have-contacts-with-gays-and-lesbians-social-acceptance-rises/.Google Scholar
Dür, Andreas, and Mateo, Gemma. 2013. “Gaining Access or Going Public? Interest Group Strategies in Five European Countries.” European Journal of Political Research 52: 660686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Farrell, Justin. 2011. “The Young and the Restless? The Liberalization of Young Evangelicals.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 50 (3): 517532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Godwin, R. Kenneth. 1988. One Billion Dollars of Influence: The Direct Marketing of Politics. Chatham, NJ: Chatham House.Google Scholar
Godwin, Erik K., Kenneth Godwin, R., and Ainsworth, Scott. 2007. “Is corporate lobbying rational or just a waste of money?” In Interest Group Politics, eds. Cigler, Allan J. and Loomis, Burdett A., 7th ed. Washington DC: CQ Press, 256278.Google Scholar
Gray, Virginia, and Lowery, David. 1996. “A Niche Theory of Interest Representation.” Journal of Politics 58 (1): 91111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gray, Virginia, and Lowery, David. 1998. “To Lobby Alone or in a Flock: Foraging Behavior Among Organized Interests.” American Politics Quarterly 26: 534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Green, John C., Rozell, Mark J., and Wilcox, Clyde, eds. 2006. The Values Campaign? The Christian Right and the 2004 Elections. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
Hadden, Jeffrey K. 1969. The Gathering Storm in the Churches. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
Hall, Richard L., and Wayman, Frank M.. 1990. “Buying Time: Moneyed Interests and the Mobilization of Bias in Congressional Committees.” American Political Science Review 84 (3): 797820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heinz, John P., Laumann, Edward O., Nelson, Robert L., and Salisbury, Robert H.. 1993. The Hollow Core: Private Interests in National Policy Making. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Hofrenning, Daniel J. 1995. In Washington but not of it: The Prophetic Politics of Religious Lobbyists. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
Hojnacki, Marie. 1997. “Interest Groups’ Decisions to Join Alliances or Work Alone.” American Journal of Political Science 41: 6187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hojnacki, Marie, and Kimball, David C.. 1998. “Organized Interests and the Decision of Whom to Lobby in Congress.” American Political Science Review 92 (4): 775790.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hojnacki, Marie, and Kimball, David C.. 2001. “PAC Contributions and Lobbying Contacts in Congressional Committees.” Political Research Quarterly 54 (1): 161180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Holyoke, Thomas T. 2003. “Choosing Battlegrounds: Interest Group Lobbying Across Multiple Venues.” Political Research Quarterly 56 (3): 325336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huddy, Leonie, Feldman, Stanley, Taber, Charles, and Lahav, Gallya. 2005. “Threat Anxiety and Support of Antiterrorism Policies.” American Journal of Political Science 49: 593608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jelen, Ted G. 2005. “Political Esperanto: Rhetorical Resources and Limitations of the Christian Right in the United States.” Sociology of Religion 66: 303321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jerit, Jennifer. 2008. “Issue Framing and Engagement: Rhetorical Strategy in Public Policy Debates.” Political Behavior 30: 124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jones, Bryan D., Baumgartner, Frank R., and Talbert, Jeffery C.. 1993. “The Destruction of Issue Monopolies in Congress.” American Political Science Review 87 (3): 657671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kahneman, Daniel, and Tversky, Amos. 1979. “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk.” Econometrica 47 (2): 263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kalla, Joshua, Rosenbluth, Frances, and Teele, Dawn. 2018. “Are You My Mentor? A Field Experiment on Gender, Ethnicity, and Political Self-Starters.” Journal of Politics 80 (1): 337341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Knutson, Katherine E. 2011. “Breaking the Chains?: Constraint and the Political Rhetoric of Religious Interest Groups.” Politics and Religion 4 (2): 312337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Knutson, Katherine E. 2013. Interfaith Advocacy: The Role of Religious Coalitions in the Political Process. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Kollman, Kenneth. 1998. Outside Lobbying: Public Opinion and Interest Group Strategies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Langbein, Laura I., and Lotwis, Mark A.. 1990. “The Political Efficacy of Lobbying and Money: Gun Control in the U.S. House, 1986.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 15 (3): 413440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leifeld, Philip, and Schneider, Volker. 2012. “Information Exchange in Policy Networks.” American Journal of Political Science 56 (3): 731744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lewis, Andrew R. 2014. “Staffing the Front Lines of the Culture War: Constituency Religious Effects on Assignment to the Senate Judiciary Committee.” Congress & the Presidency 41 (2): 167189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lewis, Andrew R. 2017. The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics: How Abortion Transformed the Culture Wars. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Loomis, Burdett A., and Cigler, Allan J.. 2007. Interest Group Politics, 7th ed. Washington, DC: CQ Press.Google Scholar
Lowery, David, and Brasher, Holly. 2004. Organized Interests and American Government. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.Google Scholar
Lowery, David, and Marchetti, Kathleen. 2012. “You Don't Know Jack: Principals, Agents, and Lobbying.” Interest Groups & Advocacy 1 (2): 139170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Margolis, Michele F. 2018. From Politics to the Pews: How Partisanship and the Political Environment Shape Religious Identity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McCrain, Joshua. Forthcoming. “Revolving Door Lobbyists and the Value of Congressional Staff Connections.” Journal of Politics 80 (4): 13691383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McFarland, Andrew S. 1984. Common Cause: Lobbying in the Public Interest. Chatham: Chatham House.Google Scholar
Miller, Joanne M., and Krosnick, Jon A.. 2004. “Threat as a Motivator of Political Activism: A Field Experiment.” Political Psychology 25 (4): 507523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moe, Terry. 1980. The Organization of Interests. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Moen, Matthew C. 1994. “From Revolution to Evolution: The Changing Nature of the Christian Right.” Sociology of Religion 55 (3): 345357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nash, Elizabeth, Gold, Rachel B., Mohammed, Lizamarie, Ansari-Thomas, Zohra, and Cappello, Olivia. 2018. “Policy Trends in the States, 2017.” https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2018/01/policy-trends-states-2017 (Accessed on 2-12-19).Google Scholar
Neiheisel, Jacob R., and Djupe, Paul A.. 2008. “Intra-Organizational Constraints on Churches' Public Witness.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 47 (3): 427441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nownes, Anthony J. 1999. “Solirefd Advice and Lobbyist Power: Evidence from Three American States.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 24 (1): 113123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nownes, Anthony J., and Freeman, Patricia. 1998. “Interest Group Activity in the States.” The Journal of Politics 60 (1): 86112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Olson, Laura O. 2002. “Mainline Protestant Washington Offices and the Political Lives of Clergy.” In The Quiet Hand of God, eds. Wuthnow, Robert and Evans, John H.. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Olson, Mancur. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 5479.Google Scholar
Pew. 2011. “The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election; Section 8: Domestic and Foreign Policy Views.” http://www.people-press.org/2011/11/03/section-8-domestic-and-foreign-policy-views/.Google Scholar
Pew. 2013. “Changing Attitudes on Same Sex Marriage, Gay Friends and Family.” http://www.people-press.org/2013/06/06/changing-attitudes-on-same-sex-marriage-gay-friends-and-family/.Google Scholar
Putnam, Robert D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
Putnam, Robert D., and Campbell, David E.. 2010. American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
Ray, John. 2018. “Walk This way, Talk This way: Legislator Speech and Lobbying.” Interest Groups & Advocacy 7 (2): 150172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rohlinger, Deana A. 2002. “Framing the Abortion Debate: Organizational Resources, Media Strategies, and Movement-Countermovement Dynamics.” Sociological Quarterly 43 (4): 479507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rose, Max, and Baumgartner, Frank R. 2013. “Framing the Poor: Media Coverage and US Poverty Policy, 1960–2008.” Policy Studies Journal 41 (1): 2253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rothenberg, Lawrence. 1988. “Organizational Maintenance and the Retention Decision in Groups.” American Political Science Review 82 (4): 11291152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rozell, Mark J., and Wilcox, Clyde. 1996. “Second Coming: The Strategies of the New Christian Right.” Political Science Quarterly 111 (2): 271294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Saad, Lydia. 2017. “U.S. Abortion Attitudes Stable; No Consensus on Legality.” https://news.gallup.com/poll/211901/abortion-attitudes-stable-no-consensus-legality.aspxGoogle Scholar
Salisbury, Robert H. 1969. “An Exchange Theory of Interest Groups.” Midwest Journal of Political Science 13:132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schattschneider, Elmer E. 1960. The Semi-Sovereign People. New York: Holt, Rhinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
Schlozman, Kay Lehman, and Tierney, John T.. 1983. “More of the Same: Washington Pressure Activity in a Decade of Change.” Journal of Politics 45 (2): 351377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shields, Jon A. 2009. The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Silge, Julia, and Robinson, David. 2016. “tidytext: Text Mining and Analysis Using Tidy Data Principles in R.” Journal of Open Source Software 1 (3): 37. doi: 10.21105/joss.00037.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Skocpol, Theda. 2004. Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.Google Scholar
Smith, Christian. 1998. American Evangelicalism: Embattled and Thriving. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, Christopher. 2014. Disruptive Religion: The Force of Faith in Social Movement Activism. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Snow, David A, Burke Rochford, E., Worden, Steven K., and Benford, Robert D.. 1986. “Frame Alignment Processes, Micromobilization, and Movement Participation.” American Sociological Review 51 (5): 464481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sullivan, John L., Piereson, James, and Marcus, George E.. 1982. Political Tolerance and American Democracy. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Tajfel, Henri. 1970. “Experiments in Intergroup Discrimination.” Scientific American 232: 96102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Terkildsen, Nayda, Schnell, Frauke I., and Ling, Cristina. 1998. “Interest Groups, the media and Policy Debate Formation: An Analysis of Message Structure, Rhetoric and Source Cues.” Political Communication 15: 4561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Trapp, N. Leila, and Laursen, Bo. 2017. “Inside Out: Interest Groups’ ‘Outside’ Media Work as a Means to Manage ‘Inside’ Lobbying Efforts and Relationships with Politicians.” Interest Groups & Advocacy 6 (2): 143160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Victor, Jennifer N., and Koger, Gregory. 2016. “Financing Friends: How Lobbyists Create a Web of Relationships among Members of Congress.” Interest Groups & Advocacy 5 (3): 224262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wilcox, Clyde. 1994. “Premillennialists at the Millennium: Some Reflections on the Christian Right in the Twenty-First Century.” Sociology of Religion, 55 (3): 243261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wilcox, Clyde, and Robinson, Carin. 2010. Onward Christian Soldiers? The Religious Right in American Politics. 4th ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
Williams, Daniel K. 2012. God's Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Wilson, Angelia R., and Burack, Cynthia. 2012. “‘Where Liberty Reigns and God is Supreme’: The Christian Right and the Tea Party Movement.” New Political Science 34 (2): 172190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Wilson and Djupe supplementary material

Supplemental Information Appendix

File 2 MB

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 31
Total number of PDF views: 244 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 10th January 2020 - 7th March 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Communicating in Good Faith? Dynamics of the Christian Right Agenda
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Communicating in Good Faith? Dynamics of the Christian Right Agenda
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Communicating in Good Faith? Dynamics of the Christian Right Agenda
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *