God's (not so) quiet hand: The political advocacy of religious liberal vs. conservative Washington offices

Rachel Miriam Kraus, Purdue University


For over a century, religious bodies have been establishing offices in our nation's capitol to speak out on a myriad of social, political, and religious issues. These “Washington offices” are one direct route through which religion is very vocally perpetuated in the political arena. This study examines how and when Washington offices connect their religious attributes to their political behavior during the 108th Congress. Do offices within similar faith families (Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish) behave similarly, and will they call upon like elements of their faith to support their political work? Utilizing an organizational framework and data from interviews with office directors, various organizational materials, and websites, this dissertation compares the political activities of 15 Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish Washington offices. Results show that when analyzing political behavior, boundaries between faith families are blurred. Instead, members of broader theological camps (liberal vs. conservative) behave similarly. Liberals share similar priorities, tactics, and religious rhetoric, while conservatives operate alike. Furthermore, the particular elements of faith that these offices attach to their political behavior vary along liberal and conservative lines.




Davidson, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Sociology|Religion|Political science

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