2007 Undergraduate Fellows Report: Religious Advocates: A Force in US Politics?
January 5, 2008
The 2007 Undergraduate Fellows Program gave a select group of ten Georgetown undergraduates the resources to study the role of religious advocacy groups in United States politics. Under the direction of Professor Clyde Wilcox of the Department of Government, the Fellows spent the 2007 academic year defining their research agenda, collecting data on key issues relevant to the field of religious advocacy, and interviewing over 40 prominent religious advocacy organizations around the country. Driven by awareness of the importance of religion to policies, especially as it relates to the 2008 presidential election, the Fellows sought to understand the influence of religious advocacy on national politics today.
2007 Undergraduate Fellows: Jenna Cossman, Catherine Currie, Camille Kolstad, Nadia Inji Khan, Eric Nowicki, Megan O'Neill, Jeff Pan, Nick Sementelli, Eric Wind, Todd Wintner
Relatively little is known about the composition and influence of religious advocacy groups in the U.S. Between February and November 2007, the Berkley Center Undergraduate Fellows set out to provide some definition to this often misunderstood community. Specifically, our project seeks to better understand how religious advocates conduct their affairs and achieve their goals by focusing on the strategies of insider versus outsider advocacy, the partisanship ties of advocacy groups, the coalitions shaping the advocacy environment, and the religious language these groups and coalitions employ in advocating for specific issues. Religious advocacy groups have been involved in many successful attempts at changing legislation in recent years as they operate within their tight network. While smaller than the secular lobbying community in size, they are by no means less powerful. In fact, their religious identity gives them an advantage in terms of their appeal and size of membership base. The strength of religious advocacy groups convictions and their ability to galvanize the voting blocs they represent has put religion into the forefront of national politics and in prime position to orchestrate changes to U.S. policy.
Table of Contents
About this Report
I. Insider/Outsider Advocacy Strategies
IV. Religious Language