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Sacramental Politics

Religious Worship as Political Action


Brian Kaylor

Religion and politics have often been called taboo topics for polite dinner conversation, but in political campaigns and religious services, the two often mix. This book looks at how religious worship remains embedded with inherent political messages and behaviors, showing that conflicts between church and state exist not just in the public arena, but in each sanctuary and house of worship. To explore this religious-political tension, the book first examines more obvious examples of worship as political action, such as when candidates speak during church services or when political parties hold prayer services at party events. The initial analysis acts as a foundation for the idea of worship serving a political purpose, and is followed by analysis of non-partisan and less obvious political worship services. Religious sacraments (such as baptism, confirmation, communion/mass, and confession) function as key moments in which religious participants pledge allegiance to a power that resides outside Washington, D.C. or statehouses, thus highlighting the alternative political messages and space carved out through worship.
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Praise of the author


“Brian Kaylor has an advantage in understanding and writing about religion and politics. As a clergyman-turned-professor, he connects the dots between the two realms like no one else. I love this book. It is not only very thoughtful, spiritually speaking, but offers up a paradigm for thinking.”

—Reverend Richard Cizik, President, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good

“In this fine treatment, Brian Kaylor helps us to understand and appreciate the delicate intersection between faith and politics, personal devotion and civic responsibility, the sacred and the secular. Kaylor helps us navigate these difficult waters. This is a good read that you’ll not only benefit from, but that you’ll also enjoy!”

—Reverend Rob Schenck, President, Faith and Action in the Nation’s Capital; Chaplain, The Capitol Hill Executive Service Club

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