"Politics in the Pews probes the internal dynamics of political decision making within the Black church.”
---William E. Nelson, Jr., Research Professor, Department of African American and African Studies, Ohio State University
As Eric McDaniel demonstrates in his study of Black congregations in the U.S., a church’s activism results from complex negotiations between the pastor and the congregation. The church’s traditions, its institutional organization, and its cultural traditions influence the choice to make politics part of the church’s mission. The needs of the local community and opportunities to vote, lobby, campaign, or protest are also significant factors.
By probing the dynamics of churches as social groups, McDaniel opens new perspectives on civil rights history and the evangelical politics of the twenty-first century. Politics in the Pews contributes to a clearer understanding of the forces that motivate any organization, religious or otherwise, to engage in politics.
Eric L. McDaniel is Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin.