About the discipline
Social capital research shows a strong connection between voting and participation in civic events such as religious activity. Research through the Center could examine such connections as well as how religion plays a role in shaping public opinion in the political sphere.
Topics such as abortion and stem cell research are well known, but religious believers also often have strong opinions on topics such as the minimum wage, immigration, welfare reform, the death penalty and social justice issues such as poverty. The media have been accused of classifying religious voters as left- or right-wing, but often those within the same faith fall on different sides of the spectrum depending on the issue. Also interesting for study is the use of the church platform as a means of fund-raising and campaigning.
Politicians and religion: The visibility of politicians’ religion has become part of the process of elections. How a presidential candidate answers the question of religion, for example, can influence how a voter thinks about that candidate, as well as his or her platform. In 2004 the talk was about how Republicans owned the issues of religion and values, but many so-called “values voters” voted Democratic in 2006, leading to questions about how much religious affiliation wins certain voters, and when policy, platforms and records begin to trump those affiliations. Some would argue that politicians are too entrenched in religion to serve their constituencies well, though other questions have also been raised, such as the connection between a politician’s religious values and actual policy. Religious conservatives have been accused of having too much connection between those two, whereas others have been decried for their hypocrisy in terms of corruption.
The U.S. is also seeing more religious diversity among politicians. Much has changed since 1960, when President John F. Kennedy faced concern during his campaign over whether he could be Catholic and the President. In 2006, Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison was elected the first Muslim in the U.S. Congress. Massachusetts governor and Mormon Mitt Romney launched primary campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination in both 2008 and ahead of the 2012 election (though he would not be the first Mormon to run for president – Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made an unsuccessful bid in 1844). Politicians’ religious affiliations may at times be controversial, but Americans have long favored presidents with a religious persuasion. A recent Newsweek poll found that only 37 percent of Americans said they’d be willing to vote for an atheist for president – down from 49 percent in a 1999 Gallup poll.
Government policy: One of the critical questions in First Amendment law is how much influence the Founding Fathers intended religion to have in public policy. The historical religious background of the Founders is also one that has been intensely studied and debated. These issues are at the core of many debates in this country, such as whether the government ought to allow – or enforce – prayer in public schools. Other issues involve prayer at public meetings or recent court orders to remove the Ten Commandments from courtrooms. In 2000 there was much debate over government funding of faith-based initiatives. The latest debate is whether the government should fund stem-cell research, which comes with an array of ethical issues for many religious believers and others. Research with the Center could look at such issues, helping to understand the religious influences of public policy. In addition, the Center’s position in the School of Journalism could look at coverage of those debates and ethical issues in terms of influence.
International issues: Public opinion concerning conflicts in the Middle East and Africa have religious contexts to them, both for those suffering in those conflicts and also the way in which those here in the United States think about those conflicts. Understanding the patterns of thinking that cause conflict is useful for those interested in political science. Researchers could also look at faith and how it interacts with public policy because of news media coverage. Religion also has influence in other arenas, including the support Israel has from many American evangelicals and how this could be a possible cause for escalation in the war on terror.
Public life: The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have given researchers more areas to examine in light of the religious context behind those events. Attitudes toward Muslims in America are worthy of study in light of the news context in which those events occurred. Examining issues involving hate crimes, civil liberties, religious profiling and national security policy are worthwhile in today’s political climate. In addition, examining the role religion has played in helping Americans cope with the attacks is vital and useful in understanding the organizing role religion plays in U.S. society.
- Djupe A., Paul, and Calfano R., Brian. “American Muslim Investment in Civil Society: Political Discussion, Disagreement, and Tolerance.” Political Research Quarterly. 2011.
- Malka, Ariel, and Soto J., Christopher. “The Conflicting Influences of Religiosity on Attitude Toward Torture.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 2011.
- Ellison, Christopher G., Gabriel A. Acevedo, and Aida I. Ramos-Wada. “Religion and Attitudes Toward Same-Sex Marriage Among U.S. Latinos.” Social Science Quarterly. Vol. 92, No. 1 (2011): 35–56
- Sherkat, Darren E., Melissa Powell-Williams, Gregory Maddox, and Kylan Mattias de Vries. “Religion, politics, and support for same-sex marriage in the United States, 1988-2008.” Social Science Research. Vol. 40, No. 1 (2011): 167-180
- Tong, James W. “The New Religious Policy in China: Catching up with Systemic Reforms.” Asian Survey. Vol. 50, No. 5 (2010): 859-887.
- Minkenberg, Michael. “Party politics, religion and elections in Western democracies.” Comparative European Politics. Vol. 8, No. 4 (2010): 385.
- Babik, Milan. “Nazism as a Secular Religion.” History and Theory. Vol. 45, No. 3 (2006): 375-396.
- Dierenfield, Bruce J. “‘The Most Hated Woman in America’: Madalyn Murray and the Crusade against School Prayer.” Journal of Supreme Court History. Vol. 32, No. 1 (2007): 62-84.
- Eisenstein, Marie. “Rethinking the Relationship Between Religion and Political Tolerance in the US.” Political Behavior. Vol. 28, No. 4 (2006): 327-348.
- Leiken, Robert S. and Steven Brooke. “The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood.”Foreign Affairs. Vol. 86, No. 2 (2007): 107-121.
- Maier, Hans. “Political Religion: A Concept and Its Limitations.” Totalitarian Movements & Political Religions. Vol. 8, No. 1 (2007): 5-16.
- Schmookler, Andrew Bard. “Moral Exo-Skeletons and Endo-Skeletons: A Key Divide in the American Body Politic.” Humanist. 66, no. 6 (2006): 28-31.
- Shaery-Eisenlohr, Roschanack. “Imagining Shi‘ite Iran: Transnationalism and Religious Authenticity in the Muslim World.” Iranian Studies. Vol. 40, No. 1 (2007): 17-35.
- Razavi, Shahra. “Islamic Politics, Human Rights and Women’s Claims for Equality in Iran.” Third World Quarterly. Vol. 27, No. 7 (2006): 1223-37.
- Shilhav, Yosseph. “Jewish Territoriality between Land and State.” National Identities. Vol. 9, No. 1 (2007): 1-25.
- Wald, Kenneth D. and Clyde Wilcox. “Getting Religion: Has Political Science Rediscovered the Faith Factor?” American Political Science Review. Vol. 100, No. 4 (2006): 523-529.
- “Nazism as a Secular Religion” by Milan Babik. History and Theory. Vol. 45, No. 3 (2006): 375-396.
- “Rethinking the Relationship Between Religion and Political Tolerance in the US” by Marie Eisenstein. Political Behavior. Vol. 28, No. 4 (2006): 327-348.
- “The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood” by Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke.Foreign Affairs. Vol. 86, No. 2 (2007): 107-121.
- “Political Religion: A Concept and Its Limitations” by Hans Maier. Totalitarian Movements & Political Religions. Vol. 8, No. 1 (2007): 5-16.
- “Moral Exo-Skeletons and Endo-Skeletons: A Key Divide in the American Body Politic” by Andrew Bard Schmookler. Humanist. Vol. 66, No. 6 (2006): 28-31.
- “Imagining Shi‘ite Iran: Transnationalism and Religious Authenticity in the Muslim World” by Roschanack Shaery-Eisenlohr. Iranian Studies. Vol. 40, No. 1 (2007): 17-35.
- “Jewish Territoriality between Land and State” by Yosseph Shilhav. National Identities. Vol. 9, No. 1 (2007): 1-25.
- “Getting Religion: Has Political Science Rediscovered the Faith Factor?” by Kenneth D. Wald and Clyde Wilcox. American Political Science Review. Vol. 100, No. 4 (2006): 523-529.
- “Berlin to vote on religion lessons” by John McManus. BBC. April 24, 2009
- “Obama’s Path to Faith Was Eclectic; President-Elect Will Reach Out to Diverse Set of Religious Leaders for Advice” by Eli Saslow. The Washington Post, Jan. 18, 2009.
- “A new year, a new mix of religion and politics; Bush-era faith is history. It’s an intellectual journey for Obama” by Michael Higgins. The Globe and Mail (Canada), Dec. 24, 2008.
- “An uneasy mix of religion and politics” by William M. Daley. Chicago Tribune, April 03, 2009.
- “Nigeria; Religion, Politics Part of Nation’s Development.” Africa News, Jan. 15, 2009.
- “Sacred Causes – Religion and Politics from the European Dictators to al-Qaeda” by Tim Cribb. South China Morning Post, Nov. 25, 2007.
- “The politics of religion in America” by James Carrol. The Boston Globe, Dec. 17, 2007. The Boston Globe
- “Minority faiths tend to go liberal” by Matthew Coutts. National Post (f/k/a The Financial Post) (Canada), Sept. 17, 2008.
- Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate. Terry Eagleton. Yale University Press, 2010.
- Religion and Politics in the International System Today. Eric O. Hanson. Cambridge University Press, 2006.
- Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us about Contentment. Phil Zuckerman. New York University Press, 2008.
- Religion in American Politics: A Short History. Frank Lambert. Princeton University Press, 2008.
- God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get it. Jim Wallis. HarperSanFrancisco, 2005.
- From civil to political religion: the intersection of culture, religion and politics. Marcela Cristi. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 2001.
- Religion and politics in America: faith, culture, and strategic choices. Robert Booth Fowler, Allen D. Hertzke and Laura R. Olson. Westview Press, 4th ed., 2010.
- Sacred and secular: religion and politics worldwide. Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart. Cambridge University Press, 2004.
- Thumpin’ It: The Use and Abuse of the Bible in Today’s Presidential Politics. Jacques Berlinerblau. Westminster John Knox Press, 2007.
- The God Strategy: How Religion Became a Political Weapon in America. David Domke and Kevin Coe. Oxford University Press, USA, 2007.
- Religion and politics: a reference handbook. John Woodrow Storey and Glenn H. Utter. ABC-CLIO, 2002.
- The Constitution of Religious Freedom: God, Politics, and the First Amendment. Dennis J. Goldford. Baylor University Press, 2012.
- Hizbu’llah: Politics and Religion. Amal Saad-Ghorayeb. Pluto Press, 2002.
- Acts of Conscience: Christian Nonviolence and Modern American Democracy. Joseph Kosek. Columbia University Press, 2011.
- A Judeo-Islamic Nation: The Evolution of America’s Political Theology. Thomas Mates. Mill City Press, 2011.
- Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus. Andrew F. March. Oxford University Press, 2011.
- “Religion, Politics, and Paris Hilton: Case Study” by Michael Rogers. Library Journal, v130 n12 p48, Jul 2005.
- The religious factor: a sociological study of religion’s impact on politics, economics, and family life. G.E. Lenski. Doubleday, 1061.
- “Politics and Religion in Modern Shia Islam Towards a Radicalism of Synthesis? Case study: Ali Shariati and the Iranian revolutionary theology” by D. Stoica, D. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the MPSA Annual National Conference, Palmer House Hotel, Hilton, Chicago, IL, April 3, 2008.
- “Religion and Politics in Singapore-Matters of Identity and National Security? A case study of the Muslim minority in a secular state” by Kerstin Steiner. Osaka University Law Review. No. 58 (2011): 107-34.
- Spirited Politics: Religion and Public Life in Contemporary Southeast Asia. Andrew C. Wilford and Kenneth M. George (eds.). Ithaca, New York: Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 2005.
Codes of ethics
- American Association for Public Opinion Research – Code of Professional Ethics & Practices
- American Association of Political Consultants – Code of Ethics
- The American Political Science Association – Core Objectives
- U.S. Congress, Committee on Ethics
- National Democratic Party — “The Democratic Vision”
- Republican National Committee — “Who we are”
- First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion & Public Life
- Religion, State & Society
- Journal of Law & Religion
- Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture
- Journal of Church & State
- University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender & Class
- Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
- Kwintessential, a London company that offers training to overcome cross-cultural communication problems, verbal and non-verbal.
- Religion & Politics (Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life)
- A Guide to Religion & Politics (ReligionLink) — 2012 presidential election
- Government & Politics (ReligionLink)
- Institute for Religion, Politics and Culture
- Religion, Politics, and the State: Cross Cultural Observations” by N.J. Demerath and Karen S. Straight (CrossCurrents)
- The Religion, Politics and Globalization Program
- Center for the Study of Religion and Civic Culture
- The Institute for Practical Ethics & Public Life
Professional associations and faith groups
- American Political Science Association: Religion & Politics Section
- North American Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies
- Christ Ambassadors Association
- Christians in Political Science