The Pluralist God Strategy: How Religious Rhetoric has Developed as a Political Weapon Through the Lens of Presidential High-State Addresses




Baxter, Jeremiah

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The God Strategy, a way of garnering the approval of a religious voting bloc, rose to prominence with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. This approach appealed to religious people by invoking God and invoking faith, using terms that have been understood as evoking religious ideas increasingly often. Yet, it is not the same exact strategy that has prevailed in each presidency each case to unify the nation. Through chronologically analyzing the references to faith used in High-State (Inaugural and State of the Union) addresses of all presidents from Reagan through Obama I show how, with the goal of increasing national unity, presidents have adapted the God Strategy to be increasingly pluralistic and have come to depict religion as a divisive force instead of a unifying one, ultimately developing a new method of utilizing religion, which I call The Pluralist God Strategy.



Presidential Religious Rhetoric