Date of Thesis

5-5-2017

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Scott R. Meinke

Abstract

The impact of religion on congressional politics is a question that is asked frequently, yet most answers I have found are, in my opinion, inadequate in accurately evaluating such an impact. This project has shown the influence that religion has on members of the House of Representatives through religion's effect on cosponsorship patterns. I have shown that both members' denominational affiliation and their religious salience are significant across multiple legislative categories. In this thesis I have redefined the measurement of religion when considering its impact on congressional politics and broadened the scope of the question. Whereas researchers previously sought to determine how members' denomination affects their support or opposition to abortion-related legislation, I have considered the abortion question, yet added a dimension of religiosity to consider the effect of religiosity along with denomination, and applied such statistical models to non-morality politics. My research shows that both denomination and religiosity are significant across legislative categories in predicting cosponsorship trends of such legislation. The significance of these relationships are intriguing as the public trends toward preferring a more clear separation between church and state, yet my models show that members are still influenced by their religious affiliation and religious salience.

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