The God Strategy: How Religion Became a Political Weapon in America

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A timely and dynamic study of the rise of religion in American politics, this superb volume examines the public messages of political leaders over the past seventy-five years-from the 1932 election of Franklin Roosevelt through the 2008 presidential race. The authors show that U.S. politics today is defined by a calculated, deliberate, and partisan use of faith that is unprecedented in modern politics. Beginning with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, America has seen a no-holds-barred religious politics that seeks to attract voters, identify and attack enemies, and solidify power. Domke and Coe identify a set of religious signals sent by both Republicans and Democrats in speeches, party platforms, proclamations, visits to audiences of faith, and even celebrations of Christmas. The updated edition of this groundbreaking book includes a new preface, an expanded analysis of the last Bush administration, and a new final chapter on the Jeremiah Wright controversy, the candidacies of Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, and Barack Obama's victory.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If you can read only one book on American politics and religion, this should be the one."—Southern Communication Journal

"The God Strategy is a sobering look at just how deeply imbedded religion has become in the contemporary American political psyche. Both the person of faith and the non-believer should fear what is revealed in this carefully crafted review of modern campaign strategies to 'get the God vote'. Domke and Coe demonstrate, with stunningly clear examples, just how the union of government and religion tends to degrade the integrity of both." —Rev. Barry Lynn, Executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State

"Religion has become central to American politics. The God Strategy is a superb overview of what happened and how it has impacted our democracy. David Domke and Kevin Coe have done the nation a service." —George Lakoff, author of Don't Think of an Elephant!

"Domke and Coe have done a masterful job of giving us insight into the mix of religion and politics. The God Strategy taught me much about a field I thought I knew. Anyone who wants to understand how the deeply religious character of America could be used to effect coming elections needs to read this book." —Joel Hunter, Pastor and Member, Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals

"The God Strategy offers an intriguing look at what has become one of the most powerful shaping forces in American political life. Like it or not, religion has for years been establishing the parameters of public debate. As Domke and Coe make clear, this is unlikely to change anytime soon." —Ron Reagan

"The God Strategy tells the intriguing story of how God-talk has functioned in American political life in recent decades. Domke and Coe invite both Democrats and Republicans to take the planks out of their own eyes before casting the first stone. This book could become a voter's bible, helping citizens (and media pundits) evaluate election-cycle rhetoric with critical scrutiny." —Brian McLaren, Pastor and author of A New Kind of Christian and The Secret Message of Jesus

"...provides a valuable service and highlights an important change in U.S. politics."—Communication Research Trends

"Filled with plenty of political anecdotes to satisfy the most political junkies"—Religion

"The God Strategy is a must read for anyone hoping to understand the role of religion in the upcoming election."—Journal of Church and State

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199746743
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/9/2010
  • Edition description: Updated Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 950,277
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David Domke is Professor of Communication, University of Washington. A former journalist, he is the author of God Willing?: Political Fundamentalism in the White House, the "War on Terror," and the Echoing Press.
Kevin Coe is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: A New Religious Politics 3

1 One Nation under God, Divisible 11

2 Political Priests 29

3 God and Country 49

4 Acts of Communion 71

5 Morality Politics 99

6 Religious Politics and Democratic Vitality 129

7 Act II 151

Acknowledgments 167

Notes 169

Index 237

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