Fierce Faith? The Battle over Faith and Politics in the United States

Team Members/Contributors

Rebecca E. Sager Loyola Marymount University Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

Over the last 30 years in American politics the Republican Party has become synonymous with religious voters. The once-dominant Protestant and Catholic voices that encouraged a more progressive political agenda became increasingly silent. Since 2004, however, a renewed progressive religious movement has attempted to change this. Using data from over 70 interviews with religious leaders, campaign workers, and movement activists, as well as extensive field research in three congressional campaigns, this book is the first work to systemically analyze the role of the renewed progressive religious movement in politics. From these data, I answer two main research questions: How is progressive religion used as a social movement and political strategy? Why do strategies work in changing American political dynamics? Using theories developed in theology, sociology, and political science, I argue that a politics based on a progressive definition of faith, one that emphasizes the common good and social justice, can be a transformative process for those involved; signaling through deeds over words the integral role faith can play in politics. I argue that while this process is fraught with tension, politicians and activists can create a path to political legitimacy through a public witness of moral authority, transforming American politics.