Voting the Bible, the Texan way : a comparative analysis of how megachurch pastors framed the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Rooted deep in the southern United States, Texas has played a role in moving the needle in various election outcomes, particularly concerning conservative issues. Stereotyped by many as a conservative and biblically focused state, Texas has become a forerunner in many matters regarding politically conservative candidates. Looking specifically at the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, Texas led the ‘Bible Belt’ in conversations concerning politics and candidates, including the safety and sanctity of pulpits. Using framing and First Amendment theories, this analysis takes a critical look at how Texas megachurch pastors used framing techniques and their personal opinions to frame campaign topics in their election-day sermons. An analysis of sermons suggests the following tactics were common: using scripture references as metaphors, linking Old Testament traditions to modern practices, and linking God’s favor to political leadership. The number of pastors with large congregations who discussed politics offers a glimpse at the role Texas megachurches play in the framing of U.S. Presidential candidates for congregants. Future studies might assess the impact of this type of rhetoric on society. Other studies might assess its impact on how people vote.