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Intra-Organizational Constraints on Churches' Public Witness

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We examine the effects of some oft-overlooked influences on clergy public speech, an important component of a church's public witness. While there are many studies of denominational conflict, few studies connect denominational-level conflict with the ways in which clergy address salient public issues to their congregations. We also explore the impact that the presence of a congregant who has struggled with his or her sexuality, that is, the contact hypothesis, has on clergy speech. We test these ideas using 2004 survey data from clergy in Columbus, Ohio concerning their speech on the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage. We find that these intra-organizational constraints shape opinions that in turn affect speech, tempering indirectly the ability of clergy to present concerns about the proposed ban.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Jacob R. Neiheisel is aPh.D. student in the Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI., Email: 2: Paul A. Djupe is Associate Professor of Political Science, Denison University, Granville, OH.

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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