Notes

Chapter 1. A Theory of Religious Rhetoric in American Campaigns

  • 1. For exit poll results, see http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls.main/ and http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/US/P/00/epolls.0.html.
  • 2. For example, on a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (2004) survey administered shortly before the 2004 election, 96 percent of those surveyed responded that “the economy” was “very important” or “somewhat important” in how they voted; 94 percent responded “very” or “somewhat important” for “Iraq,” 94 percent for “terrorism,” 90 percent for “taxes,” and 95 percent for “education.”
  • 3. The prominence of religion in 2008 was not just limited to Palin and Wright. That year also featured a candidate forum at the Saddleback Church hosted by Pastor Rick Warren. In contrast, an explicitly religious debate format was entirely absent in 2004. Like 2004, 2008 featured several high-profile gay marriage amendments on state ballots. Clergy made news in 2008 when many declared a willingness to lose their tax-exempt status by endorsing a candidate (McCain). And misinformation about Obama’s own religious affiliation received regular treatment in the press and the blogosphere.
  • 4. Other scholars have identified similar dichotomies. For example, Putnam and Campbell’s (2010) exhaustive work on the role of religion in American society fundamentally grapples with the tensions between religious polarization and pluralism. This dichotomy bears a conceptual similarity to rhetorical expressions of a “culture war” and a “civil religion.”
  • 5. For example, certain conceptions of spirituality may be particularly individualistic in nature and self-consciously devoid of any social identity-relevant component. Nevertheless, religious practices in the United States frequently do imply substantial group commitments and behaviors.
  • 6. For example, Evans and Nunn (2005) have described culture wars rhetoric as “form of communication does not lend itself to the formation of a consensus position that can be supported by the electorate,” a conclusion that speaks to the contrast between culture wars and civil religion modes of discourse.
  • 7. Lerner and Keltner (2000) specifically distinguish anger from fear, finding the latter to be more associated with assessments of uncertainty in the environment and thus to lead to more pessimistic judgments. See also Sengupta and Johar (2001) for a nuanced discussion of the impact of anxiety on information processing.
  • 8. This claim is consistent with other work (i.e., Fiorina, Abrams, and Pope 2010) that argues that culture wars issues have limited appeal for most voters. The present work extends this claim by arguing that, rhetorically, religious language is actually used to unify diverse coalitions by activating symbolic concerns (and by actually avoiding framing issues along religious lines). Indeed, Hillygus and Shields (2008) have convincingly argued that the utility of culture wars rhetoric may actually involve fracturing opposing-party coalitions. Given that civil religion rhetoric is unlikely to be a significant source of inter?party division, it makes sense that the utility of civil religion involves broader appeals to symbolic cohesion.

Chapter 2. Religious Rhetoric in American Political History

  • 1. The critical biblical passages interpreted by Puritan leadership, according to Berco- vitch (1978), are Jeremiah 50:5 and Jeremiah 31:31-33: “They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten” (Jeremiah 50:5, King James version). “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:31-33).
  • 2. Winthrop cites the prophet Micah on this matter. Micah offered Israel a complex message of guilt and repentance, consistent with the notion that the Puritans’ mission was parallel with Israel’s covenant with God. The “shipwracke” metaphor in this passage is also worth noting because the sermon was most likely delivered aboard a ship crossing the Atlantic.
  • 3. For example, in A History of the Work of Redemption (1739, sermon 24) Edwards locates the introduction of the Gospels to the American continent as “one way by which divine providence is preparing the way for future glorious times of the church when Satan’s kingdom shall be overthrown . . . . When those times come, the doubtless the gospel which is already brought over into America shall have glorious success, and all the inhabitants of this new-discovered world shall be brought over into the kingdom of Christ.” See also Ahlstrom (1972, 311).
  • 4. In Bercovitch’s words, “Edwards discovered America in scripture” (1978, 99), a move that, despite differences with the first-generation Puritans, was ultimately based “on the figural precedents of the Israelites’ covenant renewals under Joshua and Nehemiah” (104).
  • 5. Although Edwards was highly innovative in this regard, he was by no means its sole practitioner, and examples of Americans as God’s chosen people are frequent from the 1730s onward. See, for example, Samuel Dunbar’s (1760) election-day sermon in Massachusetts, entitled “The Presence of God with His People.” Dunbar frames the sermon by directly comparing the “British American provinces and colonies” with King Asa, who realizes that his fate and the fate of his people is intertwined with faith in God (Dunbar 1760, 211; see also 2 Chronicles XV). The reference to “American provinces and colonies” is significant, indicating that, despite being an address specific to the Massachusetts government, Dunbar was viewing the fate of the colonies as shared and the colonies as a whole as having a relationship with God.
  • 6. The case can also be made that this newfound identity was also critically important in putting forward the ideals of the American Revolution. For example, Wise’s 1717 “Vindication of the Government of New England Churches” viewed America (and particularly New England) as blessed by God’s grace and destined for providential greatness (Rossiter 1949, 21). As Rossiter writes, had Wise been writing in 1776, “he would have outdone Paine and Jefferson in proclaiming the necessity of rebellion” (1949, 29).
  • 7. Examples of this rhetorical style are common. For example, Samuel Langdon’s “The Republic of the Israelites as an Example to the American States” (1788), preached as an election-day sermon in New Hampshire at the height of the ratification debate, illustrates how the status of “favored nation” applied to constitutional ratification. According to Langdon, “If I am not mistaken, instead of twelve tribes of Israel, we may substitute the thirteen states of the American union, and see this application plainly offering itself, viz.— That as God in the course of his providence hath given you an excellent constitution of government, founded on the most equitable, and liberal principles, by which all that liberty is secured which a people can reasonably claim, and you are empowered to make righteous laws for promoting public order and good morals (1788, 957). Langdon proceeds to note that this duty is particularly incumbent following the birth of Christ, who is “far superior to Moses” (957). It is interesting to note the overlap of religious and republican principles. The U.S. Constitution was viewed as a gift from God, which ultimately existed to promote a republican sense of public virtue. Rhetorically, Langdon is building on his religious predecessors to create a sense of national identity under God. The sermon contains a litany of God’s many blessings on the American people (including General Washington), as well as a sense of shared fate and a common threat in England, concluding that “we cannot but acknowledge that God hath graciously patronized our cause, and taken us under his special care, as he did his ancient covenant people” (958). This sermon also has a significant ecumenical slant (964), suggesting that the developing identity is self-consciously nonsectarian (that is, a very general American Protestantism).
  • 8. This rhetorical style emerged long before the ratification debate itself. Ezra Stiles’s 1783 election-day sermon in Connecticut draws on Israel’s covenant with God “as introductory to a discourse upon the political welfare of God’s American Israel; and as allusively prophetic of the future prosperity and splendor of the United States” (1783, 7). Stiles endorses a nonsectarian America at length: “The united states will embosom all the religious sects or denominations in christendom” (1983, 54). America is, moreover, seen as a paragon of religious virtue, with a distinct place in the millennial unfolding of history: “They will then search all Christendom for the best model, the purest exemplification of the christian church, with the fewest human mixtures. And when God in his providence shall convert the world, should the newly christianized nations assume our form of religion; should american missionaries be blessed to succeed in the work of christianizing the heathen, in which the romanists and sovereign protestants have failed, it would be an unexpected wonder, and a great honor to the united states. And thus the american republic, by illuminating the world with TRUTH and LIBERTY, would be exalted and made high among the nations in praise, and in name, and in honor” (1783, 68-69). See also Meacham (2006).
  • 9. See also Noah Webster (1787) and Pelatiah Webster (1788). Also, see Winthrop (1788) for one example of the use of the “chosen people” narrative to argue against the adoption of Constitution.
  • 10. The dissent in Numbers that Franklin refers to revolves around whether the Israelites should return to Egypt, not constitutional government, as Franklin suggests. Franklin’s use of “thirteen tribes” also draws a parallel with the American states; however, there are typically thought to be twelve tribes, descending from the twelve sons of Jacob recorded in Genesis.
  • 11. A distinction should be made between explicitly religious justifications for the Constitution and religious language used to frame ostensibly secular issues. For example, Riker’s sophisticated analysis places great importance on the persuasiveness of the Federalist argument that “crisis necessitates reform,” as well as strategic positioning in swing-state conventions (1996, 258). With regard to religion, Riker (using content analysis) finds only a modest amount of discussion regarding the religious provisions in the Constitution (266) and that the argument that “God favors the Constitution” occurred infrequently (273). At first glance, Riker’s content analysis seems to do some damage to the claim that religious rhetoric held any sway in the ratification debate. The scope of Riker’s analysis, however, is different than the perspective taken in the present investigation. Riker’s methodology involved summarizing the arguments made in campaign material—typically at the paragraph level (30). Although these summary sentences are an excellent way to assess the overall themes of a campaign, religious political rhetoric need not be a campaign theme per se. Instead, religious language can be used to frame any number of political themes or to prime a sense of shared identity. Religious rhetoric may not be an “argument” at all but may, instead, color a speech so as to engender a sense of shared identity.
  • 12. In addition to playing a role in the construction of collective identity, religious rhetoric also played an important (and related) role in abolitionist and pro-slavery rhetoric. See especially Noll (2006) and Genovese (1998).
  • 13. Noll (2006) calls this a “theological crisis.” The problem was not, Noll argues, that Americans trusted in providence. This concept was highly ingrained in the American mind. The problem was how “narrowly defined” this concept became. Despite the outcome of the Civil War, when both North and South were confronted with the gruesome realities of war, it was difficult to see the workings of God in history (Noll 2006, 94). See also Miller, Stout, and Wilson (1998).
  • 14. This section owes much to Bates (2004) and Aiello (2005), who provide valuable insights into the nature of anticommunist rhetoric and who directed my attention to several revealing sources, such as the American Mercury articles of the 1950s.
  • 15. The defining characteristics of American identity thus remained similar to previous rhetorical constructions, enhanced by stark contrasts to an external threat—one actively seeking to destroy the status of America in the world order. Bates makes a similar claim, arguing that the introduction of “godless communism” into the rhetoric of civil religion represents a fundamental shift in rhetorical style: “Civil religion predated American independence, and anticommunism had existed since the birth of communism. But the linkage of the two, and the parallel linkage of atheism and communism, represented something new in American politics” (2004, 30).
  • 16. Specifically, McCarthy said, “As you know, very recently the Secretary of State proclaimed his loyalty to a man guilty of what has always been considered as the most abominable of all crimes of being a traitor to the people who gave him a position of great trust. The Secretary of State in attempting to justify his continued devotion to the man who sold out the Christian world to the atheistic world, referred to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount as a justification and reason therefore, and the reaction of the American people to this would have made the heart of Abraham Lincoln happy. When this pompous diplomat in striped pants, with a phony British accent, proclaimed to the American people that Christ on the Mount endorsed communism, high treason, and betrayal of a sacred trust, the blasphemy was so great that it awakened the dormant indignation of the American people” (1950). McCarthy was referring to the Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s refusal to condemn Alger Hiss, an accused communist spy (who was convicted of perjury).
  • 17. See also Putnam and Campbell (2010, 86-90).
  • 18. Noting that this argument runs into problems with individuals who do not believe in God at all, Docherty develops an interesting way of dealing with atheism. Atheist Americans are, according to Docherty, a “contradiction in terms” because what makes an American is a belief in God. Atheists, then, are “spiritual parasites . . . living on the accumulated Spiritual Capital of a Judeo-Christian civilization” (Docherty 1954).
  • 19. Marty (1987, 84) notes that Eisenhower was a “particularly gifted priest” of the civil religion and suggests that his rhetoric may have ultimately transformed the cold war into a sort of “holy war.”
  • 20. The jeremiad is a type of sermon employed by American Puritans, characterized by three principal components: the stating of a “doctrine,” usually from the Jeremiah or Isaiah; the “reasons,” or an elaboration of the doctrine; and the “applications,” or how the doctrine applies to daily life (Miller 1953, 29). The term is derived from the Old Testament lamentations of Jeremiah.
  • 21. A cursory look at the existing literature might suggest, however, that the early generations of Puritan colonists avoided explicitly emotive persuasive techniques, instead focusing on the logical implications of scriptural mandates (White 1972). The Great Awakening evangelists certainly ramped up the emotional tenor of religious activities; nevertheless, Berkovitch (1978) has persuasively documented important affective impulses that predate the Great Awakening.
  • 22. The revivalist departure from earlier Puritan rhetoric was a watershed moment in religious language and caused considerable controversy within religious circles, dividing the religious establishment into rationalist “Old Light” Calvinists and evangelical/emotional “New Light” Calvinists, who were in most other ways doctrinally orthodox.
  • 23. Edwards argued that in religious communication there is a problematic disconnect between an abstract theological idea and the words we use to communicate that idea (Miller 1956, 179). For example, in describing the “joy” that enabled early Christians to endure persecution, Edwards contends that “Their Joy was full of Glory . . . . the Joy was unspeakable, and no words sufficient to describe it” (1746, 123). As Miller summarizes, Edwards “was ready to maintain that an emotional response [to words] is also intellectual. . . . A passionate grasping of meaning from a thing or a word is as much an idea—a more clear and distinct idea—as a theoretical grasping” (1956, 181). It is interesting to note that Edwards appears to predate the work of contemporary functional theories of emotions in some respects. Edwards gives emotions a role alongside rational thought, arguing that “the mind is the proper seat of the affections” (Miller 1956, 211).
  • 24. “The Omaha Platform” was adopted at the first national convention of the Populist Party.
  • 25. See also Marty (1987, 80) on the malleability of civil religion rhetoric.

Chapter 3. Religious Rhetoric and the Politics of Identity

  • 1. According to the 2007 Pew U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, 16.1 percent of Americans consider themselves “unaffiliated,” and another 4.7 percent consider themselves members of non-Christian denominations (Pew Research Center for the People and the Press 2007).
  • 2. Overby and Barth (2006) find that radio advertising that is narrowcast to marginalized groups actually tends to increase those individuals’ optimism in democracy because their concerns are being directly addressed by the candidates. In a similar way, candidates might stump in a locale with a relatively monolithic religious minority audience, using subgroup rhetoric to make these individuals feel efficacious and included in the political process. Subgroup appeals thus have the potential to enhance the dynamics of religious pluralism by including marginalized groups.
  • 3. In compiling these data, I am particularly indebted to the work of Roderick Hart and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, and to the efforts of the Campaign Mapping Project, as well as the Stanford University Political Communication Lab.
  • 4. To this list, I have added one theoretically motivated religious word—;values—based on evidence that moral values are of central importance to voting behavior and that voters who report that moral values are important typically attend church at higher rates (Olson and Green 2006). Although values need not be religious, because this word was on the tip of the tongue of frequent church attendees, I deemed it important to explore its rhetorical use.
  • 5. These indicators include all forms of the words: (1) church, churches; (2) faith, faithful, faithfully, faiths; (3) God, God’s, Lord, Lord’s; (4) moral, morality, morals; (5) pray, prayer, prayers, prays; (6) religion, religions; (7) religious, religiously; (8) sacred; (9) soul, souls; (10) spirit, spiritual, spirituality; (11) values; (12) worship, worships.
  • 6. In other words, I used these indicators to point to spots in candidate speeches where religious language is used; however, even when I identified rhetoric as religious, there is no natural stopping and starting point for a religious passage. Although I could simply have chosen to sample only the sentence in which the indicator word appears, these passages then would be lacking in context and richness. In addition, because much of my sample came from audio transcripts, the sentence is itself a somewhat arbitrary marker. Consequently, I adopted the following rules for sampling rhetoric. First, I sampled all sentences in which an indicator word appeared. Second, if the sentence contained demonstrative or personal pronouns, I also selected up to (but no more than) three prior sentences in order to identify the noun to which the pronouns referred. Third, I made slight modifications to the punctuation where awkward periods and dashes from a speech transcript obscured the meaning. Fourth, if the indicator sentence was part of a quotation, I included the entire quotation.
  • 7. Interested readers can find a more detailed explanation of the coding scheme in the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 8. The civil religion and subgroup categories were created by collapsing several different subcategories together. Civil religion identity combines all religious references to American identity with unspecified references using first-person plural pronouns. This fits with the theoretical specification outlined, which suggests that civil religion identity works primarily through its appeal to a broad nondenominational religious constituency. Subgroup identity collapses all references to the Judeo-Christian tradition, specific religious denominations, and nondenominational groups. The vast majority of these sectarian references are to Judeo-Christian faith traditions. For further coding details, see the online appendix, available at http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 9. The provider category was motivated by the frequency of this imagery in candidate rhetoric, which was uncovered in the pretesting for codebook development. Even though this category may, in fact, be a subcategory of paternal image, I coded it as a separate category to eliminate ambiguity.
  • 10. For content analysis reliability information, see the online appendix, http://facstaff. uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 11. The scores presented in figure 3.1 are the number of times a candidate used a word from the LIWC religious words default dictionary, divided by the total number of words across all that candidate’s speeches (see Pennebaker, Francis, and Booth 2001).
  • 12. Issue variables were coded for campaigns from 1980 to 2004. Overall, about 34 percent of religious passages made a reference to domestic policy matter and about 10 percent made a reference to a foreign policy matter. Qualitatively, issue appeals generally appeared to be fairly superficial, not sustained attempts to defend a policy on religious grounds. Moreover, there was no clear evidence of a modal or typical religious issue. Issues framed in religious terms ranged from a posture toward the Soviet Union to education to small business. In contrast, identity references appeared in 70 percent of the religious passages, with civil religion identity being the clear modal choice.
  • 13. Dole, for example, frequently discussed abortion, although never in a religious context. Consider this emblematic passage: “And if you send me a partial birth abortion bill I will sign it; I will not veto it. And I don’t care what your view is on abortion, pro-life or pro-choice. If you understood this procedure you would be against it. Dr. Koop said—Dr. Koop said—Dr. Koop, whom President Clinton loves to quote, says it’s never necessary; in fact, it can harm the mother. This is Dr. Edward Everett Koop. So let’s get it, let’s pass that bill. I’ll sign it” (October 23, 1996, Macon, GA, Annenberg/Pew Archive of Presidential Campaign Discourse). Consistent with Rozell and Wilcox (1996), Dole reframes the issue as a medical matter, citing the authority of a doctor and justifying his position on the grounds of maternal health, not moral or religious dictates. A further analysis of moral or cultural issues is available from author, upon request.
  • 14. Others, particularly Domke and Coe (2010), have examined how candidates and parties discuss cultural issues in general. This is outside the scope of the present project; here I am primarily concerned with how explicitly religious language is used to frame an array of political issues.
  • 15. Candidates vary significantly in the extent to which they invoke these religious identities. Using an ANOVA, between-candidate differences are significant in culture wars and civil religion at p < .001, and for subgroup religion at p < .1.
  • 16. A t test indicates that, on average, civil religion appeals make modestly more God references (p = .07, two-tailed), whereas no such association exists for culture wars and subgroup references.
  • 17. To test this, I regressed civil religion on passage length and references to a blessed nation. Blessed nation references significantly predict the invocation of civil religion identity (p < .001).
  • 18. In an interesting speech to the National Baptist Convention in 1988, Michael Dukakis made reference to both Christian responsibility and the special status of America in the same passage.
  • 19. Subgroup passages have an average LIWC first-person plural pronoun score of 1.8, whereas all other passages average 4.7. Difference is significant at p < .001 (two-tailed test).
  • 20. Interestingly, passages making reference to a culture war tend to score modestly higher on third-person plural pronouns such as they and them, consistent with the notion that culture wars rhetoric is concerned with identifying outgroups. This difference is significant at p < .1 (two-tailed test).
  • 21. To further test the relationship illustrated in figure 3.3, I used a binary logistic regression to predict shared and pluralistic rhetoric from passage length and each of the three identity variables. Consistent with figure 3.3, civil religion identity has a significant positive relationship (p < .001) with shared conceptions of American religiosity. Subgroup religion identity has a positive relationship with pluralistic religiosity (p < .001).
  • 22. These differences are statistically significant. I used a binary logit model to regress civil religion on each of the God concept variables. Both the “paternal” and “provider” God concepts significantly predicts civil religion rhetoric (p < .05). For details, see the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.

Chapter 4. Religious Rhetoric and the Politics of Emotive Appeals

  • 1. One exception to this is Roseman, Abelson, and Ewing’s (1986) examination of the relationship between emotional stimulus and emotional response in campaign materials. This innovative study combines a content analytic categorization of the promotional material of public affairs organizations with a test of which discrete emotions (anger, hope, fear, or pity) this material induces. This study concludes that varied appeals to discrete emotions have specific and systematic effects. For example, whereas angry and pitying subjects were most persuaded by appeals to those emotions, respectively, fearful subjects were more persuaded by hopeful appeals. Brader’s (2006) work also includes a focus on how message characteristics (particularly music and images) can induce different emotional states. See also Huddy and Gunnthorsdottir (2000).
  • 2. To my knowledge, an English translation of Marty’s (1908) work does not exist; I am relying on Caffi and Janney’s (1994) review.
  • 3. Similarly, using online diaries in the weeks following September 11, 2001, Cohn, Mehl, and Pennebaker (2004) document a prolonged depression following this national tragedy. This suggests that the program can be used as a good barometer of the public mood.
  • 4. Similarly, Sigelman (2002) uses WDAL to draw inferences about Reagan’s personality. Comparing pre-presidency speeches (which were generally written by Reagan himself) with presidential radio addresses (which were written with the aid of speechwriters), Sigelman finds significant differences in both the activity and the positivity of “the two Reagans.” Thus, he cautions that there are significant limitations on drawing personality inferences about public speakers based on public addresses.
  • 5. Hatfield, Calcioppo, and Rapson (1994) review an impressive array of evidence suggesting that emotional contagion is a prevalent across a variety of contexts.
  • 6. Hatfield, Calcioppo, and Rapson outline three conditions in which individuals can “infect” others with their own emotions. First, “they must feel (or at least appear to feel) strong emotions,” a process at which political candidates excel. Second, “They must be able to express (facially, vocally, and/or posturally) those strong emotions.” Again, presidential candidates are expected to be well-rehearsed in this regard. Finally, “When others are experiencing emotions incompatible with their own, they must be relatively insensitive to and unresponsive to the feelings of others” (Hatfield, Calcioppo, and Rapson 1994, 146). Politicians are thus quite proficient in their ability to induce emotions without being “infected” themselves. For example, Hatfield, Calcioppo, and Rapson remark that Clinton was known for his ability to “resonate with people’s feelings but resist getting caught up in their anger” (1994, 179). Likewise, they cite a study of Reagan’s facial expressions in which viewers responded to the president’s emotional displays. Reagan supporters and opponents had very different recollections of Reagan appearing in a televised newscast, with opponents reporting negative reactions even to positive emotional displays. Both supporters and opponents, however, tended to mimic his positive facial displays, and skin resistance levels showed that supporters and opponents alike were more relaxed when Reagan had positive facial displays (McHugo et al. 1985; see also Sullivan and Masters 1988).
  • 7. In the case of WDAL, a large list of English words (8,742, representing about 90 percent of commonly used words) were scored along three dimensions: Pleasantness, Activation, and Imagery. Because it is unclear how imagery is related to emotion, I do not consider this dimension further. Each word was rated an average of eight times for Pleasantness and Activation, and five times for Imagery. Thus, all the measures of affect that WDAL computes are essentially composites of the judges’ scoring words along up to these three dimensions. Conceptually, Pleasantness scores are related to the Valence dimension used in many two-dimensional models, whereas Activation scores are related to the Arousal dimension. WDAL thus computes scores for the percentage of high- and low-arousal words (i.e., activity and passivity) and positive- and negative-valence words (i.e., pleasant and unpleasant) in a given text. WDAL also computes composites of these dimensions: “sad” is a composite of passivity and negativity, “nasty” is a composite of activity and negativity, “nice” is a composite of passivity and positivity, and “fun” is a composite of activity and positivity. “Nice” is not reported in this chapter, because there are no real theoretical expectations about its political ramifications. In terms of discerning expected effects, these measures have the advantage of grafting onto Russell’s (2003) Core Affect model and other related two-dimensional models of emotion. LIWC, in contrast, arranges words categorically. A word, such as angel, might simultaneously belong to numerous categories (emotive and otherwise), such as “religion,” “optimism,” and “positive emotion.” Numerous judges were responsible for sorting words into their respective categories. Any given word is sorted into one (or more) of seventy-two nonexclusive categories. So, the LIWC category “anxiety” includes all words that fall in the category “anxiety,” and the LIWC output is a percentage of all anxiety words in a given text. Although LIWC does not parallel any particular model of emotion, its hierarchical arrangement does provide us with the ability to test numerous affective categories with precedents in the persuasion and judgment literature. For example, all the discrete emotions are arranged in the superordinate categories “negative emotion” and “positive emotion,” which allows us with to examine the general valence of a given message. In addition, LIWC contains measures of discrete emotions such as anxiety and optimism, which may have important effects on judgment, as suggested by the Affective Intelligence model (Marcus, Neuman, and MacKuen 2000). So, although the WDAL Valence-Arousal approach cannot adequately differentiate, say, anxiety from anger, the judges who developed the LIWC dictionary ultimately had the differences between these discrete categories in mind.
  • 8. For examples of words scored in the different affective categories of LIWC and WDAL, see the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 9. It is unclear precisely how to interpret the high WDAL “nasty” score. WDAL codes text along two dimensions: Valence and Activation. High “nasty” scores correspond to passages high in activity and negativity. Because anger and anxiety are also both theoretically high activity and negativity, I use the WDAL “nasty” measure only as a general indicator that culture wars rhetoric tends to have a negative valence. I rely primarily on the LIWC measures to draw conclusions about discrete emotions. See also Russell (2003).
  • 10. For details, see the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 11. Specifically, using an ANOVA, I find evidence of significant between-year variation (p < .05) on each of these three variables.
  • 12. Differences on the WDAL “nice” measure, not reported in this chapter, are not statistically significant. This measure is intended to capture passive positive rhetoric, which is not necessarily consistent with heuristic processing in the first place. Thus, this null finding is not surprising.
  • 13. Obama is second only to Reagan in this respect. Obama also scored quite high on the LIWC sadness measure.
  • 14. For this analysis, separate bivariate correlations were obtained for every candidate, looking only at observations for which the WDAL sad scores were greater than 0. Thus, the analysis speaks to the question: When candidates use sad language, what else do they pair it with? Like Obama, Dole in 1996 and Regan in 1984 also had positive significant correlations between sad and optimism; nearly every other candidate had a negative correlation between these variables.
  • 15. Bush had a religious optimism score of 0.032, whereas Kerry had one of 0.019. In contrast, Bush’s 2004 campaign registered the lowest negative emotion score in the sample, whereas Kerry’s was among the highest.
  • 1. Green, Palmquist, and Schickler’s (2002) argument for the stability of partisan attachments uses the stability of religious affiliation as a point of comparison.
  • 2. This is similar to Layman’s (2001) distinction among behaving, believing, and belonging and to Manza and Brook’s (1999) distinction among a secular vs. unattached cleavage, a traditionalism cleavage, and a denominational membership cleavage. See also Leege and Kellstedt (1993); Mockabee, Wald, and Leege (2007).
  • 3. Scholars use different terminology to characterize this divide. Layman (2001), for example, uses the terms traditionalist and modernist.
  • 4. For example, in a September 2004 interview on The Tavis Smiley Show (on PBS), Wallis said “ ‘We are not single-issue voters.’ So that all of Christian ethics and values can’t get reduced down to one or two hot-button social issues, as if abortion and gay marriage are the only religious values, issues in this campaign. The ad says caring for the poor and vulnerable is a religious issue. How we go to war is a religious issue. Caring for the environment, God’s creation, is a religious issue. Truth-telling, human rights—all these things are religious values, questions.”
  • 5. Data were collected October 15-19, 2004.
  • 6. Specifically, I examined the extent to which abortion salience, same-sex marriage salience, and moral values salience predicted vote choice, controlling for church attendance and party identification. I modeled vote choice as a function of all these issue-salience variables at once and also ran the model with one issue variable at a time to reduce mul- ticollinearity. In addition, I examined interactions between issue importance variables and ideology to test for the possibility that cultural issues mattered only for ideologically conservative voters. Although several of these issues were significant predictors of vote choice for Bush, in no case did the statistical controls for issues dramatically diminish the strength of the relationship between church attendance and vote choice. This suggests that issues alone were not driving the “religion gap” in 2004.
  • 7. For a discussion of moral values issues voting in greater detail, with evidence that voters concerned with moral values are generally concerned with a candidate’s representational style, not substantive issues, see chapter 6.
  • 8. Evidence indicates that a connection between religious rhetoric and political behavior is likely. For example, Leege et al. argue that “Through the manipulation of various psychological mechanisms rooted in primary group attachments, political elites attempt to frame issues in such a way to mobilize specific portions of the electorate and demobilize other portions” (2002, 253). Leege et al., however, do not consider any measures of rhetoric such as those developed in chapters 3 and 4; instead, they urge the direct study of “candidates, issues, groups, and party images” as an important direction for future research. See also Guth et al. (1995) and Layman and Green (2005).
  • 9. Scholars have made the link between religious communication and political attitudes indirectly by studying exposure to religious messages (Reese and Brown 1995; Hollander 1998; Wilcox, DeBell, and Sigelman 1999), the religious beliefs of political elites (Rozell, Wilcox, and Green 1998, Layman 1999), and the political content of worship services (Brewer, Kersh, and Peterson 2003).
  • 10. This hypothetical example is based on Hogg’s conclusion that the salience of a social identity depends on both the accessibility and fit of a particular identity. Individuals use “accessible categories” to “make sense of their social context” (Hogg 2006, 119). Depending on the context, categorizations may vary in how well they help people account for social similarities and differences.
  • 11. For example, Smith understands American evangelicalism as an identity which “thrives on distinction, engagement, tension, conflict, and threat. Without these, evangelicalism would lose its identity and purpose and grow languid and useless” (1998, 89). Smith uses the term evangelism, as opposed to orthodoxy, but it is this commitment to religious distinction and exclusivity in which I am ultimately interested. Individuals who are vested in maintaining these group-based distinctions should be most persuaded by sectarian rhetoric. From a very different theoretical vantage, Iannaccone defines fundamentalism as “sectarianism,” or “the degree to which a group demands sacrifice or stigma, or equivalently, the degree to which it limits, and thereby increases the cost of nongroup activities, such as socializing with members of other religions or pursuing secular pastimes” (1997, 104). Each of these characterizations suggests an orientation toward religious exclusivity that could potentially be activated by sectarian rhetoric.
  • 12. The method for obtaining subgroup scores was modified slightly to obtain more precise estimates than those used in chapter 3. Specifically, because subgroup coding involves just a simple word count of religious subgroups, I was able to use the entire speech database rather than just the sample of seventy-five speeches per candidate. In addition, because the measure of orthodoxy used in this chapter is biased toward Christian orthodoxy, I limited this variable to Christian subgroups. Specifically, I coded all references to Christ, Christian, Protestant, Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Congregational, Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, Disciples of Christ, Holiness, Assemblies of God, Nazarene, Pentecostal, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness. Of these, references to Christian, Catholic, and Baptist were by far the most common. To calculate frequency, I divided this count by the total word count for all the candidate’s speeches. Aggregated by candidate, this word frequency score was significantly related to the hand-coded measure of sectarian identity presented in chapter 3 (r = .622, p = .02, n = 14).
  • 13. Detailed information on the construction of these variables can be found in chapters 3 and 4, as well as in the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/. Because neither LIWC nor WDAL contains a measure of enthusiasm that directly maps to enthusiasm as it is understood by political psychologists (i.e., Marcus, Neuman, and MacKuen 2000; Brader 2006), I averaged the WDAL “fun” variable and the LIWC “positive feeling” scores. See the online appendix for details, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 14. One potential objection to this approach is that, if candidates systematically vary their language over the course of a campaign, taking an average over several months of campaigning might lead to biased or inaccurate estimates. The data suggest, however, that the candidates were quite consistent in their rhetorical style across a campaign; for details, see the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 15. Data from the American National Election Study (ANES), http://www.electionstud ies.org. The 2008 ANES was not included in this analysis because pre- and postelection measures of the dependent variable were not obtained.
  • 16. Measuring attitude change using pre- and postelection measures presents complex statistical challenges (Allison 1990; Finkel 1995). For a detailed discussion of the dependent variable, see the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 17. Across all seven elections studied, a = 0.673.
  • 18. One ANES question asked respondents the extent to which the Bible should be taken literally. This single question is a relatively narrow view of orthodoxy, and more important, the response options on the ANES did not adequately distinguish respondents at the conservative end of the scale (Layman 2001, 63). In addition, the response options on this ANES item changed following the 1988 election. Thus, the ANES biblical literalism question is not the best measure for the present inquiry.
  • 19. For a discussion of how the date of interview affects the results, see the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 20. Detailed information on the construction of these variables can be found in the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 21. Interested readers can find statistical details in the online appendix, http://facstaff. uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 22. Interested readers can find the full multilevel regression results in the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 23. For full regression results, see the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.

Chapter 6. Civil Religion Identity and the Task of Political Representation

  • 1. One excellent example is Layman and Green’s (2005) careful examination of the culture wars thesis. The authors conclude that “The orthodox-progressive religious divide is most relevant to political behaviour in the special policy, religious and political contexts in which logical, psychological, social and electoral sources of constraint are likely to be in effect” (Layman and Green 2005, 83). In particular, the orthodox-progressive divide is related to substantive issue-based voting for individuals who see abortion as a salient issue and are aware of party differences on this issue. This implies that substantive policy-based representation may be an important electoral expectation of voters, albeit a rather limited segment of the electorate.
  • 2. Civil religion theorists disagree about the extent to which all of these factors coexist. For example, whereas some place an emphasis on the common elements of faith traditions, Bellah (1967) argues forcefully that civil religion should be understood on its own terms as a transcendent religious reality. Theorists such as Rousseau (1762) and Toc- queville (1840) tend to emphasize the connection between civil religion and the maintenance of democratic institutions.
  • 3. Flere and Lavric (2007) have conducted similar research examining civil religion as an identity orientation in comparative perspective.
  • 4. Social identity theorists typically define a social identity as involving both the awareness of one’s objective group membership and a sense of attachment to the group (Tajfel 1981; Conover 1984). This understanding of identity is important because it generates insights into how individuals will respond to identity-laden cues. Previous research has shown that social identities can be primed as a basis of political evaluation (Jackson 2005; Tran- sue 2007) and that group members will display stronger conformity to group norms. For example, Huddy and Khatib’s (2007) measure of national identity—which is empirically and theoretically distinct from other belief-oriented measures of patriotism—is a powerful predictor of political participation, insofar as the norm of participation is socially desirable behavior. Similarly, I expect that members of American civil religion should display a willingness to evaluate candidates on quasi-religious grounds when primed with cues suggesting that quasi-religious factors are normatively appropriate standards of political evaluation.
  • 5. In particular, Wimberley (1980) has pointed out the critical role the presidency plays in the American civil religion.
  • 6. The CRI scale used in the National Civil Religion Identity Study has very good reliability (a = 0.897). An extended ten-item scale was used in the civil religion priming experiment, described later in this chapter. Although the priming experiment drew on an undergraduate population and consequently had a much lower scale mean, the ten-item scale also had good statistical properties (a = 0.874). For additional methodological details, see the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 7. In addition, an exploratory factor analysis indicated that that CRI is empirically distinct from both religious fundamentalism and national identity.
  • 8. In my sample, whites scored an average of 0.57 on the CRI scale, African Americans scored 0.56, and Latinos scored 0.49. None of these differences were significant at the p < .05 threshold.
  • 9. Age is correlated with CRI at r = .285 (p < .05). At the most extreme ends of the scale, Americans ages 18-35 scored 0.47 on the CRI scale, whereas Americans over the age of 65 scored 0.73. Although this is a substantial gap, CRI is still well represented among younger Americans.
  • 10. An ANOVA confirms that the civil religion differences between major religious traditions are statistically significant, at p < .001.
  • 11. For the results, see the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/. This finding is consistent with Wimberley and Christenson’s (1981) findings from the late 1970s that individuals who identified as Unitarian, Jewish, or “no preference” tended to score much lower on the CRI scale. Interestingly, self-identified Christians are a declining percentage of the U.S. population, and an increasing number of Americans do not identify with organized religion at all. Insofar as civil religion identity is linked with Christian denominational selfidentification, there may be a weakening of civil religion identity underway.
  • 12. Perhaps nowhere is this tension between civil religion as a unifying force and civil religion as an instrument of exclusion more evident than Reverend George Docherty’s sermon on the Pledge of Allegiance (discussed in chap. 2). After arguing that Christians, Jews, and Muslims are all included in the “American way of life,” Docherty quite remarkably takes great pains to argue that “an atheistic American is a contradiction in terms . . . . These men, and many have I known, are fine in character; and in their obligations as citizens and good neighbors, quite excellent. But they really are ‘spiritual parasites.’ And I mean no term of abuse in this. I’m simply classifying them. A parasite is an organism that lives upon the life force of another organism without contributing to the life of the other. These excellent ethical seculars are living on the accumulated spiritual capital of a Judeo-Christian civilization, and at the same time deny the God who revealed the divine principles upon which the ethics of this country grow” (1954). Thus, even while carving out a place for multiple denominational traditions, Docherty explicitly argues that the definition of an American implies adherence to the civil religion.
  • 13. See also Wolfe’s (1998) discussion of a “quiet faith.” Wolfe’s findings suggest that Americans tend not to see an “American faith” in overly divisive terms.
  • 14. This is consistent with Hillygus and Shields’s (2005) finding that moral values voters were not overwhelmingly concerned with the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage (voters were most concerned with issues such as the Iraq War, terrorism, and the economy). Nevertheless, given that civil religion voters did weigh moral character and family values when making their decision, the evidence suggests that moral values voters were still uniquely concerned with image-based dimensions of candidate evaluation.
  • 15. Part of the reason for the difference between high- and low-CRI respondents involves question-order differences on the surveys, whereby some respondents answered a series of religiosity questions before answering the salience questions (see later discussion). On key issues, question-order bias does interact with civil religion identity to magnify differences on the dependent variable. Along these lines, readers might question the appropriateness of examining all respondents together (as I do in figures 6.2 and 6.3). To address this objection, I also ran separate analyses looking at only respondents in the control condition, in which no religious cue was present. The results support the claim that high-CRI respondents are more concerned with a representative style than substantive issues. All differences between high- and low-CRI voters on family values, moral character, and religion are sig?nificant at p < .01. Differences on substantive issues—abortion and same-sex marriage—fail to reach the p < .1 threshold for statistical significance, and in fact, low-CR! respondents actually reported being more concerned about the same-sex marriage issue. Differences on being “proud of country” were also significant in the expected direction. Differences on “someone like me” failed to meet the threshold for statistical significance, although the difference was signed appropriately. Differences between fundamentalist respondents on abortion and same-sex marriage are also significant in the expected direction. In short, the question-order manipulation embedded in the survey does not affect the substantive thrust of the findings presented in this section.
  • 16. To test whether these relationships are statistically significant, I examined separate bivariate regressions predicting issue or image salience from the CRI score. Consistent with the argument, CRI score significantly predicts concern with moral character, family, and candidate’s religion (p < .001). CRI score is not significantly related to concern about same-sex marriage; however, it does have a small statistically significant relationship with abortion. To further examine these relationships, I replicated each of these regressions, controlling for party identification. The results of controlling for party identification indicate that the relationship between CRI score and concern about religious image is robust, whereas the relationship between CRI score and concern about abortion (a religious issue) is spurious, disappearing when the analysis controlled for party identification. See the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/ for regression results.
  • 17. Church attendance and CRI score tend to have similar relationships to political issue salience. That is, when I replicated the analysis in figure 6.2 using church attendance rather than CRI score, I obtained a similar result. The gulf between symbolic criteria for high- and low-CRI individuals, however, is even larger than the church attendance difference. Moreover, the gulf between cultural issues is even smaller when we compare high- and low-CRI respondents as opposed to frequent and infrequent church attenders. CRI score and church attendance are both nondenominational measures of religious adherence, and they appear to differentiate issue salience in a similar manner. CRI score is much better, however, at gauging differences in symbolic concerns. Thus, the CRI results presented in this chapter can be seen as having a strong parallel with the religious commitment findings in chapter 5.
  • 18. In other words, American national identity and civil religion identity appear to explain different components of the variance in “pride in country.” See the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 19. Because I collected original survey data in this chapter, I substituted a measure of self-identified religious fundamentalism for the religious orthodoxy measure that was used in the previous chapter (Layman 2001, 85). Although the measurement strategies are different, both ultimately capture the respondent’s sense of religious exclusivity.
  • 20. For an example, see the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 21. Fundamentalism significantly predicts the salience of abortion and same-sex marriage at p < .001. See the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 22. Only 6.5 percent of the sample said that fundamentalist described them “a great deal.”
  • 23. This is a ten-item version of the CRI scale administered in the National Civil Religion Study. Although conceptually similar to the scale used in the national study, modifications were made both to accommodate survey length and to better tap identity-relevant aspects of civil religion.
  • 24. For details, see the online appendix, http://facstaff.uww.edu/chappc/.
  • 25. It should be noted that I actually used a 3 x 3 design, manipulating not only the religious identities but also the use of emotive language. Specifically, in addition the candi?date web page containing rhetorical styles for control, civil religion, or subgroup religion, the web page also contained control, enthusiastic, or angry rhetoric. The analyses presented here simplify this design in two ways. First, I have excluded all three anger conditions from further analysis. These conditions were included in the survey to address specific questions about emotion and group-based thinking, but in practice angry civil religion rhetoric is quite uncommon. Second, in further analyses I have averaged together the enthusiastic and control conditions. In other words, I have considered only the identity manipulation, not the emotive differences. Extensive testing presented elsewhere (Chapp 2009) suggests that enthusiastic language primarily influences the likelihood of voter turnout, not vote choice.
  • 26. To examine this relationship further I regressed “proud of country” on Christianity, dummy variables for the religious conditions, and an interaction between Christianity and the rhetorical condition. The results, reproduced in the online appendix, http://facstaff. uww.edu/chappc/, indicate that the interaction between the civil religion cue and Christianity is moderately significant (p = .071).
  • 27. Although the current findings are generally consistent with those in chapter 5, it is interesting to note that the subgroup religion condition also appears to activate a civil religion orientation as a basis of candidate evaluation. This may be due in part to the unique student sample, which exhibited very little variance on other religious orientations of importance, such as fundamentalism.
  • 28. It should be noted that these do not meet the p < .05 threshold for statistical significance, due to the difficultly of obtaining a large enough non-Christian sample. These results should be taken only as suggestive.
  • 29. Trait assessments were measured by asking respondents, “Based on the website you just looked at, how well do you think the following words or phrases characterize Ed Mitchell?” Respondents rated the candidate on a scale of 1 to 5, ranging from “not well at all” to “extremely well.”
  • 30. This difference is significant at p = .013 when comparing the control to the subgroup religion condition, and at p = .054 when comparing the control to the civil religion condition.
  • 31. Like the trait assessment, emotional responses were measured by asking the respondents, “Thinking back to the website you just looked at, how well do the following words or phrases characterize how the website made you feel personally?” Respondents rated the candidate on a scale from 1 to 5, ranging from “not well at all” to “extremely well.”
  • 32. For example, Domke and Coe argue that the “golden rule” of religious campaigning involves “signaling] to devout religious believers that they share and appreciate these citizens’ faith, but do so without pushing away religious moderates and secular minded voters” (2010, 130). Likewise, Hart has written that “political rhetoric must avoid being overly religious, and religious rhetoric overly political (2000, 49).
 
Source
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >