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Religious Institutions and Political Participation in America

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Previous research on religious institutions and political participation finds that churches can increase participation among their members through the development of civic skills and the distinct political histories of religious traditions. This paper examines the various ways religious institutions promote the political participation of their members. We utilize the 1990 Citizen Participation Study to test seven hypotheses about the connections between religious institutions and political participation. We find, contrary to previous work, that church-gained civic skills and religious tradition do not directly affect political participation among those currently active in religious institutions. Rather, churches bring their parishioners more effectively into the political process through the recruitment of members to politics and when members come to see their church activity as having political consequences.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Denison University, Ohio, 2: Department of Political Science, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio,

Publication date: June 1, 2001


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