Palin, religion, the 2008 election

Sep 09, 2008

Although Sarah Palin's entry into the 2008 presidential race has energized the religious right within the Republican Party, don't expect religion to be a major issue in this year's election, says University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) political communications expert Larry Powell, Ph.D. The move away from overt religious appeals may be due to an effort to avoid what Powell calls the "Pharisee Effect."

The Pharisee Effect is a phenomenon when religious appeals in politics go too far and cause a backlash and a rejection by voters. The term Pharisee Effect, is based on the biblical references to religious leaders known as the Pharisees. The Pharisees were rebuked by Jesus as hypocrites because of their use of public prayers to enhance their own image.

Powell, along with UAB Professor Eduardo Neiva, Ph.D., published a study on the Pharisee Effect in the recent issue of the North American Journal of Psychology. The article examined the unsuccessful bid for governor by Roy Moore, known as the "Ten Commandments Judge." Moore's reliance on religious appeals was the basis for his candidacy in the Republican Primary. The paper argues that Moore's religiosity was not an effective basis for a politically persuasive strategy.

Last month a Pew Research Institute survey reported a decline in the number of Americans who want churches and other houses of worship involved in political matters. The survey also found that most of the drop in the past four years comes among conservatives.

"Palin has been careful to avoid using religious arguments in her speeches or making overt religious appeals," says Powell, but she appeals to the religious right because of her stance on issues like abortion.

Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Explore further: Family 'disconnect' drives young Singaporeans to suicide: charity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

First in-situ images of void collapse in explosives

17 minutes ago

While creating the first-ever images of explosives using an x-ray free electron laser in California, Los Alamos researchers and collaborators demonstrated a crucial diagnostic for studying how voids affect ...

NASA maps Typhoon Matmo's Taiwan deluge

27 minutes ago

When Typhoon Matmo crossed over the island nation of Taiwan it left tremendous amounts of rainfall in its wake. NASA used data from the TRMM satellite to calculate just how much rain fell over the nation.

Bacteria manipulate salt to build shelters to hibernate

57 minutes ago

For the first time, Spanish researchers have detected an unknown interaction between microorganisms and salt. When Escherichia coli cells are introduced into a droplet of salt water and is left to dry, b ...

How do we terraform Venus?

57 minutes ago

It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough. The challenges for Venus are totally different than for Mars. How will we need to fix Venus?

Recommended for you

Giving emotions to virtual characters

2 hours ago

Researchers at the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEM) were able to simulate human facial expressions in virtual characters and use them in order to create better environments within a virtual ...

Emotion-tracking software aims for "mood-aware" internet

3 hours ago

Emotions can be powerful for individuals. But they're also powerful tools for content creators, such as advertisers, marketers, and filmmakers. By tracking people's negative or positive feelings toward ads—via ...

The emotional appeal of stand-up comedy

3 hours ago

Comics taking to the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe this week should take note: how much of a hit they are with their audiences won't be down to just their jokes. As Dr Tim Miles from the University of Surrey has discovered, ...

User comments : 0