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The Politics of Evangelical IdentityLocal Churches and Partisan Divides in the United States and Canada$
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Lydia Bean

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161303

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161303.001.0001

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Two American Churches: Partisanship without Politics

Two American Churches: Partisanship without Politics

(p.62) Chapter 3 Two American Churches: Partisanship without Politics
The Politics of Evangelical Identity

Lydia Bean

Princeton University Press

This chapter illustrates how “political” talk was considered unspiritual and inappropriate in the American congregations of Northtown Baptist and Lifeway Assembly of God. But even though both churches avoided politics, they enforced an informal understanding that good Christians voted Republican. The chapter describes how religion and partisanship became fused, as members mapped their subcultural identity and drew on narratives of religious nationalism. Political influence did not work through explicit persuasion or deliberation, but rather through implicit cues about what political affiliations were for “people like us.” These political cues were so powerful precisely because they were distanced from the dirty business of politics; instead, they were woven into the fabric of everyday religious life.

Keywords:   political talk, American congregations, Northtown Baptist, Lifeway Assembly of God, good Christians, Republicans, religious nationalism

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