The Political Mobilization of Religious Beliefs


Jelen's study asks two basic questions: Why do some people apply their religious beliefs to their political behavior, and what are the consequences of politicized Christianity for the practice of democracy in the United States? Supportive data for his findings, collected from the members and clergy of fifteen churches in a rural Midwestern county, suggest that the internal factionalism of the Christian Right is due to "religious particularism." Mutual distrust and suspicion among Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Charismatics, and Pentecostals, as well as their prejudice and suspicion toward "outsiders," prevent the formation of potentially powerful political coalitions. Jelen explores religion's tendency to impact conservative politics and what the nature of a fractured religious right implies.


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