The Political Attitudes and Activities of Mainline Protestant Clergy in the Election of 2000: A Study of Six Denominations

Authors: Smidt, Corwin1; Crawford, Sue2; Deckman, Melissa3; Gray, Donald4; Hofrenning, Dan5; Olson, Laura6; Steiner, Sherrie4; Weston, Beau7

Source: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 42, Number 4, December 2003 , pp. 515-532(18)

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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Abstract:

This study examines clergy across six mainline Protestant denominations in terms of their social characteristics, their theological positions, and their political attitudes and behavior. The analysis is based on data collected through random surveys of clergy in each denomination conducted in 2001 using the same instrument. The predominant focus of the article is on the nature and level of political activities exhibited by mainline Protestant clergy in the election year of 2000. The analysis revealed that mainline Protestant clergy are indeed relatively active politically, but that, despite their commonality of belonging to the same broad religious tradition, the nature and level of such political activities varies across the six denominations. Variation in the level of political activity is related to a number of different variables. And, while multivariate analysis reduces the number of significant factors that account for such differences, the remaining significant factors are associated with each of the major theoretical approaches that have been advanced to account for differences in participation levels.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1468-5906.2003.00200.x

Affiliations: 1: Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI 2: Creighton University, Omaha 3: Washington College, Chestertown, MD 4: Eastern University 5: St. Olaf College, Northfield 6: Clemson University, Brackett Hall, Clemson 7: Centre College, Danville

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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