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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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Captains in the Culture War

Captains in the Culture War

(p.133) Chapter 6 Captains in the Culture War
The Politics of Evangelical Identity

Lydia Bean

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at how, in U.S. churches, political influence operated through a broad set of opinion leaders, not just through ordained pastors or media elites. Previous research has identified local pastors as key opinion leaders who help bridge the gap between political elites and the general public, by preaching on political topics, sending partisan cues, or proclaiming official church stances on issues like abortion and gay marriage. Other scholars argue that Christian Right elites increasingly reach individuals directly, through targeted mailings, Fox News, and Christian radio, without the need to work through their personal networks and congregations. But previous work has largely ignored the political influence of volunteer, non-ordained religious leaders.

Keywords:   U.S. churches, political influence, opinion leaders, local pastors, political elites, Christian Right, Christian radio, Fox News

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