AuthorHOFFMAN, THOMAS JOSEPH.
AdvisorMuller, Edward N.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe key question addressed by this study is: does religion promote political stability or political change? Andrew Greeley's theory of the religious imagination is adopted for the study of religion. Politics is seen as including all those actions and attitudes directed towards the influencing of the making and the execution of policy which deals with concerns in which all members of a society have an interest. These actions and attitudes take the form of either demands or support. The relationships between religion and politics are tested in a secondary analysis of data from an NORC study on religious values conducted in 1979. The American nationwide sample of Catholics and former Catholics aged 18 to 19 are examined. Models of hypothesized relationships are tested by using path analysis based on ordinary least-square regression. After the models are tested for Catholics, Catholic disidentifiers, males, females, Germans, Irish, and Italians. The results demonstrate that religion may, given the content of that religion, promote either political stability or political change. The influence of religion on politics is contingent upon the content of that religion, particularly upon the religious imagery held by the respondents. Conventional images of God for the most part increase levels of confidence in the political authorities. These images contribute to political stability. When religious imagery has an influence on the view that the church and its functionaries should articulate progressive socio-political demands it is warm religious imagery. Warm images of God can contribute to the promotion of political change. Conventional images of God, for males and Italians, contribute to higher levels of conventional political participation. Warm images of God, for females and Germans, also have a positive influence on conventional political participation. This study demonstrates the need to include religion as an important consideration to be examined in any inquiry into the generation of demands and supports into the political system. It also provides a framework for the investigation of religion's influence on politics in cross-national and cross-cultural research.
Degree ProgramPolitical Science