Abstract

Evangelical Christians have always had a complex relationship with political issues in the United States, especially with the rise of the Christian right in the 1980s. Pastors and church leaders function as crucial communicators of political values in a contemporary American context. Since 2017 the Trump presidency has provided a new set of issues to consider. With Festinger’s (1957) Cognitive Dissonance theory and Tajfel’s (1981) Social Identity theory as the foundation, this study examines how evangelical Christian pastors conceptualize their religious and political identities, how they communicate with their congregants about political issues and how they handle differences between their political and religious opinions. Six pastors from a mid-sized, Midwestern university town were interviewed using a semi-structured format. Findings are explored in the context of Cognitive Dissonance theory and Social Identity theory.

Advisor

Laura Jacobi

Committee Member

Deepa Oommen

Committee Member

Scott Granberg-Rademacker

Date of Degree

2019

Language

english

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication Studies

College

Arts and Humanities

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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In Copyright