Exploring the Role of Faith in Public Life in Central Texas

Religion is an integral part of many Texans' lives, with around 60 percent of the population citing faith as a major factor in their lives. This is especially true when it comes to politics, as evidenced by the rise of the religious right in the 1990s and investigations into local churches' support for political candidates. To gain a better understanding of the role of religion in public life in Central Texas, it is important to examine how faith influences political views and how external mobilization efforts affect black church activism. Christopher Ellison, Elsie and Stanley Adams centennial professor of sociology, conducted a study titled God's Party? Race, Religion and Partisanship over Time. He found that West Texas voters rejected three conservative Christian candidates who sought to infuse religious values into local politics.

This was a clear violation of the Johnson Amendment, a law passed in 1954 by Congress that prohibits nonprofit organizations from intervening in political campaigns. When Jimmy Carter ran for president in 1976, he often referred to Reinhold Niebuhr's statement that “the sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world”. Carter was known for teaching Bible classes throughout his adult life, with an emphasis on what is in the Scriptures rather than what is not. He focused on topics such as marriage, human life, family relationships, school books, and how religion is talked about in history texts and science texts. The question then arises: should a group's beliefs be converted into legislation that doesn't reflect the beliefs of all religions in Texas? It is important to consider the difference in national origins that gives rise to divergent experiences in the United States and ultimately affects their political preferences. McDaniel's book Politics in the Pews examines how and why black religious institutions respond to the call of politics. It also looks at how external mobilization efforts affect black church activism.

By exploring these topics, we can gain a better understanding of the role that religion plays in influencing political views in Central Texas.