Journal Article

Laity, Institution, Theology, or Politics? Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish Washington Offices' Agenda Setting*

Rachel Kraus

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 68, issue 1, pages 67-81
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2007 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socrel/68.1.67
Laity, Institution, Theology, or Politics? Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish Washington Offices' Agenda Setting*

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I examine the considerations that 15 prominent religious offices in Washington, D.C. take into account when establishing their political agendas. Data come from interviews with office directors, websites, and documents collected during the 108th Congress (2003–2004). I find that the offices do consider their theological traditions and the institutional policies of their sponsoring religious bodies. At the same time, different aspects of faith are called upon across theological camps (liberals/moderates versus conservatives) and faith families (Protestants versus Catholics versus Jews). Beyond the two universal considerations of institutional policy and theology, only liberals and most moderates take into account the external political climate. The laity plays a role in the agenda setting process of very few offices, contributing to overt tension experienced by some of the organizations. Implications for Washington offices' political advocacy, denominational structure, and their representativeness (or lack thereof) are discussed.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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