Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Political Mobilization in American Congregations: A Religious Economies Perspective

  • Paul A. Djupe (a1) and Jacob R. Neiheisel (a2)
Abstract

It has become an article of faith that congregations in America play an important role in the political mobilization of the faithful, but the reasons why congregations themselves provide political opportunities are not well understood. We unite various strands of work about congregational political engagement under the canopy of the religious economies model. Using the 2001 U.S. Congregational Life Study and 1998 National Congregations Study datasets, we show that market forces shape churches’ provision of political goods, suggesting that the congregational embrace of political activities should be understood not as a politically strategic exercise, but as another way to reach out to new members and retain current ones.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Paul A. Djupe, Denison University, 100 W. College St., Granville, OH 43023. E-mail: djupe@denison.edu
References
Hide All
Baldassarri, Delia, and Diani, Mario. 2007. “The Integrative Power of Civic Networks.” American Journal of Sociology 113:735780.
Bellin, Eva R. 2008. “Faith in Politics: New Trends in the Study of Religion and Politics.” World Politics 60(1):315347.
Beyerlein, Kraig, and Chaves, Mark. 2003. “The Political Activities of Religious Congregations in the United States.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 42(2):229246.
Beyerlein, Kraig, and Hipp, John. 2006. “From Pews to Participation: The Effect of Congregational Activity and Context on Bridging Civil Engagement.” Social Problems 53(1):97117.
Bloom, Pazit Ben-Nun, and Arikan, Gizem. 2012. “Priming Religious Belief and Religious Social Behavior Affects Support for Democracy.” International Journal of Public Opinion Research 25(3):368382.
Breault, Kevin. 1989. “New Evidence on Religious Pluralism, Urbanism, and Religious Participation.” American Sociological Review 54(6):10481053.
Brewer, Stephanie M., Jozefowicz, James J., and Stonebraker, Robert J.. 2006. “Religious Free Riders: The Impact of Market Share.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 45(3):389396.
Calfano, Brian R. 2009. “Choosing Constituent Cues: Reference Group Influence on Clergy Political Speech.” Social Science Quarterly 90(1):88102.
Calhoun-Brown, Allison. 1996. “African-American Churches and Political Mobilization: The Psychological Impact of Organizational Resources.” Journal of Politics 58:935953.
Calhoun-Brown, Allison. 2010. “This Far by Faith: Religion, Gender, and Efficacy.” In Religion and Democracy in the United States: Danger or Opportunity, eds. Wolfe, Alan and Katznelson, Ira. New York: Russell Sage, 279307.
Campbell, David E. 2004. “Acts of Faith: Churches and Political Engagement.” Political Behavior 26(2):155180.
Campbell, Ernest Q., and Pettigrew, Thomas F.. 1959. Christians in Racial Crisis: A Study of Littlerock's Ministry. Washington, DC: Public Affairs Press.
Chaves, Mark. 2004. Congregations in America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Chaves, Mark, and Anderson, Shawna. 2008. National Congregations Study. Cumulative data file and codebook. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University, Department of Sociology.
Chaves, Mark, Ellen Konieczny, Mary, Beyerlein, Kraig, and Barman, Emily. 1999. “The National Congregations Study: Background, Methods, and Selected Results.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 38(4):458476.
Chaves, Mark, Geisel, Helen M., and Tsitsos, William. 2002. “Religious Variation in Public Presence: Evidence From the National Congregations Study.” In The Quiet Hand of God, eds. Wuthnow, Robert and Evans, John H.. Berkeley: University of California Press, 108128.
Chaves, Mark, and Gorski, Philip S.. 2001. “Religious Pluralism and Religious Participation.” Annual Review of Sociology 27:261281.
Dallas, Kelsey. 2014. “Churches Proceed Carefully when Encouraging Members to Get Politically Involved.” Deseret News, 28 October.
Djupe, Paul A., Burge, Ryan P., and Calfano, Brian R.. 2016. “The Delegational Pulpit? Clergy Identifying as Congregational Political Representatives.” Representation 52(1):4369.
Djupe, Paul A., and Calfano, Brian R.. 2012. “The Deliberative Pulpit: The Democratic Norms and Practices of the PCUSA.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 51(1):90109.
Djupe, Paul A., and Calfano, Brian R.. 2013. God Talk: Experimenting with the Religious Causes of Public Opinion. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Djupe, Paul A., and Gilbert, Christopher P.. 2003. The Prophetic Pulpit: Clergy, Churches, and Communities in American Politics. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Djupe, Paul A., and Gilbert, Christopher P.. 2008. “Politics and Church: Byproduct or Central Mission?Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 47(1):4562.
Djupe, Paul A., and Gilbert, Christopher P.. 2009. The Political Influence of Churches. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Djupe, Paul A., Neiheisel, Jacob R., and Sokhey, Anand E.. 2018. “Reconsidering the Role of Politics in Leaving Religion—The Importance of Affiliation.” American Journal of Political Science 62(1):161175.
Finke, Roger, and Scheitle, Christopher P.. 2013. “Sources of Religious Pluralism: Revisiting the Relationship Between Pluralism and Participation.” In Religions as Brands: The Marketization of Religion and Spirituality, eds. Stolz, Jörg and Usunier, Jean-Claude. New York: Oxford University Press, 177190.
Fernandez, Roberto M., and McAdam, Doug. 1988. “Social Networks and Social Movements: Multiorganizational Fields and Recruitment to Mississippi Freedom Summer.” Sociological Forum 3(3):257282.
Finke, Roger, and Stark, Rodney. 1988. “Religious Economies and Sacred Canopies: Religious Mobilization in American Cities, 1906.” American Sociological Review 53:4149.
Finke, Roger, and Stark, Rodney. 1989. “How the Upstart Sects Won America: 1776–1850.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 28(1):2744.
Finke, Roger, and Stark, Rodney. 2005. The Churching of America 1776–2005: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Fox, Jonathan, and Tabory, Ephraim. 2008. “Contemporary Evidence Regarding the Impact of State Regulation of Religion on Religious Participation and Belief.” Sociology of Religion 69(3):245271.
Friedland, Michael B. 1998. Lift up Your Voice Like a Trumpet: White Clergy and the Civil Rights and Antiwar Movements, 1954–1973. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Gerber, Alan S., Gruber, Jonathan, and Hungerman, Daniel M.. 2016. “Does Church Attendance Cause People to Vote? Using Blue Laws’ Repeal to Estimate the Effect of Religiosity on Voter Turnout.” British Journal of Political Science 46(3):481500.
Gerring, John, Hoffman, Michael, and Zarecki, Dominic. 2018. “The Diverse Effects of Diversity on Democracy.” British Journal of Political Science 48(2):283314.
Gilbert, Christopher P. 1993. The Impact of Churches on Political Behavior. Westport: Greenwood Press.
Gill, Anthony. 1998. Rendering Unto Caesar: The Catholic Church and the State in Latin America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Gill, Anthony. 2001. “Religion and Comparative Politics.” Annual Review of Political Science 4:117138.
Glock, Charles Y., and Stark, Rodney. 1965. Religion and Society in Tension. Chicago: Rand McNally.
Gray, Virginia, and Lowery, David. 1996. “A Niche Theory of Interest Representation.” The Journal of Politics 58(1):91111.
Guth, James L. 1996. “The Bully Pulpit: Southern Baptist Clergy and Political Activism 1980–1992.” In Religion and the Culture Wars: Dispatches From the Front, eds. Green, John C., Guth, James L., Smidt, Corwin E. and Kellstedt, Lyman A.. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 146173.
Guth, James L., Green, John C., Smidt, Corwin E., Kellstedt, Lyman A., and Poloma, Margaret. 1997. The Bully Pulpit: The Politics of Protestant Clergy. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press.
Guttmann, Amy, and Thompson, Dennis. 1996. Democracy and Disagreement. Cambridge: Belknap.
Hadden, Jeffrey K. 1969. The Gathering Storm in the Churches. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
Hannan, Michael T., and Carroll, Glenn R.. 1992. Dynamics of Organizational Populations. New York: Oxford University Press.
Harris, Fredrick C. 1999. Something Within: Religion in African-American Political Activism. New York: Oxford University Press.
Hatch, Nathan O. 1989. The Democratization of American Christianity. New Haven: Yale UP.
Hill, Jonathan P., and Olson, Daniel V.A.. 2009. “Market Share and Religious Competition: Do Small Market Share Congregations and Their Leaders Try Harder?Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 48(4):629649.
Hougland, James, and Christenson, James. 1983. “Religion & Politics: The Relationship of Religious Participation to Political Efficacy and Involvement.” Sociology & Social Research 67:405420.
Iannaconne, Laurence R. 1988. “A Formal Model of Church and Sect.” American Journal of Sociology 94(Supplement):S241-S268.
Iannaconne, Laurence R. 1992. “Religious Markets and the Economics of Religion.” Social Compass 39(1):121131.
Iannaconne, Laurence R. 1994. “Why Strict Churches Are Strong.” American Journal of Sociology 99(5):11801211.
Jelen, Ted G., and Wilcox, Clyde. 1998. “Context and Conscience: The Catholic Church as an Agent of Political Socialization in Western Europe.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 37(1):2840.
Johnson, Benton. 1963. “On Church and Sect.” American Sociological Review 28:539549.
Jones-Correa, Michael A., and Leal, David L.. 2001. “Political Participation: Does Religion Matter?Political Research Quarterly 54(4):751770.
Kelley, Dean M. 1972. Why Conservative Churches Are Growing. New York: Harper & Row.
Kitts, James A. 1999. “Not in our Backyard: Solidarity, Social Networks, and the Ecology of Environmental Mobilization.” Sociological Inquiry 69:551574.
Leege, David C. 1988. “Catholics and the Civic Order: Parish Participation, Politics, and Civic Participation.” The Review of Politics 50(4):704737.
Lincoln, C. Eric, and Mamiya, Lawrence H.. 1990. The Black Church in the African American Experience. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Masket, Seth E. 2009. “Did Obama's Ground Game Matter? The Influence of Local Field Offices During the 2008 Presidential Election.” Public Opinion Quarterly 73(5):10231039.
McAdam, Doug. 1982. Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, 1930–1970. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
McCleary, Rachel M., and Barro, Robert J.. 2006. “Religion and Political Economy in an International Panel.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 45(2):149175.
McDaniel, Eric L. 2008. Politics in the Pews: The Political Mobilization of Black Churches. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
McPherson, J. Miller. 1982. “Hyper-network Sampling: Duality and Differentiation Among Voluntary Associations.” Social Networks 3:225249.
McRoberts, Omar M. 2003. Streets of Glory: Church and Community in a Black Urban Neighborhood. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Morris, Aldon D. 1984. The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement: Black Communities Organizing for Change. New York: Free Press.
Nelson, Hart M., and Kanagy, Conrad L.. 1993. “Churched and Unchurched Black Americans.” In Church and Denominational Growth: What Does (and Does Not) Cause Growth or Decline, eds. Roozen, David A. and Kirk Hadaway, C.. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 311323.
Nelson, Hart M., and Nelson, Anne Kusener. 1975. Black Church in the Sixties. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky.
Niebuhr, H. Richard. 1951. Christ and Culture. New York: Harper.
Norris, Pippa, and Inglehart, Ronald. 2004. Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Olson, Mancur Jr. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Olson, Daniel V.A. 1998. “Religious Pluralism in Contemporary U.S. Counties.” American Sociological Review 63:759761.
Olson, Laura R. 2000. Filled with Spirit and Power: Protestant Clergy in Politics. New York: State University of New York Press.
Olson, Laura R., Djupe, Paul A., and Cadge, Wendy. 2011. “Mainline Protestantism and Deliberation About Homosexuality.” In Faith, Politics, and Sexual Diversity in Canada and the United States, eds. Rayside, David and Wilcox, Clyde. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
Owens, Michael L. 2007. God and Government in the Ghetto: The Politics of Church-State Collaboration in Black America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Payton, Mark E., Greenstone, Matthew H., and Schenker, Nathaniel. 2003. “Overlapping Confidence Intervals or Standard Errors: What Do They Mean in Terms of Statistical Significance?Journal of Insect Science 3:34.
Perl, Paul, and Daniel, V.A. Olson. 2000. “Religious Market Share and Intensity of Church Involvement in Five Denominations.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 39(1):1231.
Peterson, Steven A. 1992. “Church Participation and Political Participation: The Spillover Effect.” American Politics Quarterly 20(1):123139.
Philpott, Daniel. 2007. “Explaining the Political Ambivalence of Religion.” American Political Science Review 101(3):505525.
Pope, Liston. 1942. Millhands and Preachers: A Study of Gastonia. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Price, Vincent, Cappella, Joseph N., and Nir, Lilach. 2002. “Does Disagreement Contribute to More Deliberative Opinion?Political Communication 19:95112.
Putnam, Robert, and Campbell, David. 2010. American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Quinley, Harold. 1974. The Prophetic Clergy: Social Activism among Protestant Ministers. New York: Wiley.
Rosenstone, Steven J., and Hansen, John Mark. 1993. Mobilization, Participation, and Democracy in America. New York: Macmillan.
Rothenberg, Lawrence. 1988. “Organizational Maintenance and the Retention Decision in Groups.” American Political Science Review 82:11291152.
Schwadel, Philip. 2005. “Individual, Congregational, and Denominational Effects on Church Members’ Civic Participation.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 44(2):159171.
Schwadel, Philip, and Dougherty, Kevin D.. 2010. “Assessing Key Informant Methodology in Congregational Research.” Review of Religious Research 51(4):366379.
Sherkat, Darren E. 2014. Changing Faith: The Dynamics and Consequences of Americans’ Shifting Religious Identities. New York: NYU Press.
Sherkat, Darren E., and Wilson, John. 1995. “Preferences, Constraints, and Choices in Religious Markets: An Examination of Religious Switching and Apostasy.” Social Forces 73(3):9931026.
Smith, Amy Erica. 2016. “When Clergy are Threatened: Catholic and Protestant Leaders and Political Activism in Brazil.” Politics and Religion 9(3):431455.
Stark, Rodney. 1998. “Catholic Contexts: Competition, Commitment, and Innovation.” Review of Religious Research 39(2):197208.
Stark, Rodney, and Finke, Roger. 2000. Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Stark, Rodney, and McCann, James C.. 1993. “Market Forces and Catholic Commitment: Exploring the New Paradigm.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 32(2):111124.
Stedman, Murray S. Jr. 1964. Religion and Politics in America. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World.
Tate, Katherine. 1991. “Black Political Participation in the 1984 and 1988 Presidential Elections.” American Political Science Review 85(4):11591176.
Thumma, Scott. 2001. “Megachurches Today 2000.” http://hirr.hartsem.edu/org/faith_megachurches_FACTsummary.html.(Accessed on December 22, 2012).
Tocqueville, Alexis De. 1994 [1840]. Democracy in America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Toft, Monica Duffy, Philpott, Daniel, and Shah, Timothy S.. 2011. God's Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics. New York: W.W. Norton.
Trejo, Guillermo. 2009. “Religious Competition and Ethnic Mobilization in Latin America: Why the Catholic Church Promotes Indigenous Movements in Mexico.” American Political Science Review 103(3):323342.
Troeltsch., Ernst. 1931. The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches. New York: Macmillan.
Trueheart, Charles. 1996. “Welcome to the Next Church.” The Atlantic Monthly 278(2): 3758.
Verba, Sidney, Lehman Schlozman, Kay, and Brady, Henry E.. 1995. Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Voas, David, Crockett, Alasdair, and Olson, Daniel V.A.. 2002. “Religious Pluralism and Participation: Why Previous Research is Wrong.” American Sociological Review 67(2):212230.
Wald, Kenneth D., Owen, Dennis, and Hill, Samuel. 1990. “Political Cohesion in Churches.” Journal of Politics 52:197215.
Warner, R. Stephen. 1993. “Work in Progress Toward a New Paradigm for the Sociological Study of Religion in the United States.” American Journal of Sociology 98(5):10441093.
Wood, James R., and Bloch, Jon P.. 1995. “The Role of Church Assemblies in Building a Civil Society: The Case of the United Methodist General Conference on Homosexuality.” Sociology of Religion 56(2):121136.
Woolever, Cynthia, and Bruce, Deborah. 2002. A Field Guide to U.S. Congregations: Who's Going Where and Why. Westminster: John Knox Press.
Wuthnow, Robert. 1999. “Mobilizing Civic Engagement: The Changing Impact of Religious Involvement.” In Civic Engagement in American Democracy, eds. Skocpol, Theda and Fiorina, Morris P.. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Politics and Religion
  • ISSN: 1755-0483
  • EISSN: 1755-0491
  • URL: /core/journals/politics-and-religion
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Djupe and Neiheisel supplementary material
Djupe and Neiheisel supplementary material 1

 Word (320 KB)
320 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed