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The Southern Baptist church-state 'culture war': The internal politics of denominational advocacy

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posted on 2023-09-06, 03:42 authored by Andrew R. Lewis

Principal-agent problems often hamper the substantive representation of members in voluntary associations and professional organizations. These problems occur for a variety of structural and contextual reasons within interest groups, and they frequently exist when members do not join for the purpose of political advocacy. I analyze the Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) change in church-state advocacy, away from the separation of church and state, to test how groups that are prone to principal-agent problems are able to overcome them. I pose a contextual hypothesis, grounded in theories of interest group politics and public opinion. The hypothesis expects that the intra-group and external political contexts provide the opportunities necessary for entrepreneurs to effectively alter a group's political advocacy and improve the authenticity of representation. I test this hypothesis and analyze the SBC's advocacy shift using quantitative, historical, and qualitative analyses and draw implications regarding interest groups, representation, culture wars, and church-state politics. The results show that principal-agent problems existed within the SBC, but the combination of the internal and external contexts provided the opportunities necessary to achieve advocacy change, overcoming many of the representational constraints denominational lobbies face.



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Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 73-02, Section: A, page: 7550.; Adviser: Daniel L. Dreisbach.; Thesis (Ph.D.)--American University, 2011.


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