Share this

God Talk: Experimenting with the Religious Causes of Public Opinion, Paul A. Djupe and Brian R. Calfano

Reviewed by David O'Connell



This is one book that does not suffer from a lack of ambition. Paul A. Djupe and Brian R. Calfano set out to change not only the way that scholars think about religion’s influence on public opinion but also the methods that scholars use to investigate those relationships.

Djupe and Calfano are critical of research based on what they term the “religious commitment” approach. Typically, this work begins by identifying an individual’s religious tradition—mainline Protestant, evangelical Protes­tant, Jewish, and so on. The next step is to assess an individual’s commitment to that tradition through measures of their beliefs and practices, for instance, their rate of church attendance. Finally, this information is used to document different types of political variation.

For the authors, this strategy is indefensible because it assumes that message content is constant across a religious tradition. But the reality is that one Catholic priest may talk about social justice in every homily, while another scrupulously avoids political commentary. Hence, religion and politics research, Djupe and Calfano argue, must be seriously concerned with how people are exposed to religion.

Therein lies the main contribution of the book. In a series of empirical chapters, the authors vary exposure to a religious message, seek

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

The Faiths of the Postwar Presidents: From Truman to Obama, David L. Holmes Reviewed by DAVID O'Connell

About PSQ's Editor


Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.


JOBS: The Future of Jobs in America

May 20, 2021


Editor’s spotlight

Revisiting the New Deal

What the New Deal Did
David M. Kennedy

Franklin D. Roosevelt and The Transcendence of Partisan Politics
Sidney M. Milkis


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

Presidential Selection and Democracy   PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION AND DEMOCRACY

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS