RELIGIOUS MESSAGES: THEMES IN RELIGIOUS LEFT AND RIGHT PUBLICATIONS DURING THE OBAMA AND TRUMP ADMINISTRATIONS
Keywords:religious left, religious right, themes, Obama presidency, Trump presidency, United States
Both the religious left and right make calls for followers to put faith into action. Priorities for action are affected by social and political realities. This paper examines themes conveyed by two distinct religious publications before and after the 2016 election. Both publications are published by organizations that wish to put faith into action. The method relies on the content analysis of one thousand nine hundred forty-three articles from Sojourners and Evangelicals during the Obama and Trump presidencies. While the results show differing emphases for each publication, emphases for each shifted after the 2016 election. Articles in Sojourners, a left-leaning publication with an interfaith readership, directly responded to presidential policy. Criticism of President Trump became a common theme. Articles in Evangelicals, a right leaning publication with diverse evangelical readership, in contrast, avoided controversial current events and did not directly discuss presidents, presidential policy, nor governments during either presidency; instead focusing on the challenge of pastoral work and civility after the 2016 election. Moreover, in both magazines, articles during the presidential administration conflicting more with the organization’s values, resulted in a wider range of themes, suggesting that opposition provides more opportunity to clarify and emphasize values and priorities.
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