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Seeking Good Debate"Religion, Science, and Conflict in American Public Life"$
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Michael S. Evans

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520285071

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520285071.001.0001

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Owning the Space

Owning the Space

Religious Credibility in the Public Sphere

(p.98) Chapter 6 Owning the Space
Seeking Good Debate

Michael S. Evans

University of California Press

This chapter suggests that representatives participate in the public sphere in order to pursue public credibility, which does not necessarily require deliberation. However, not everyone pursues credibility in the public sphere. For example, the Religious Right pursues religious credibility in the public sphere, while the Religious Left does not. The historical domination of public debate by theologically and politically conservative religion representatives gives the Religious Right a structural advantage as those representatives continue to “own the space” of religion in public life. Yet the success of such promotion is measured not only by the prominence of religious representatives in the public sphere but also by the extent to which ordinary people recognize prominent representatives in public life and think of one set of representatives rather than another set as religious.

Keywords:   public credibility, Religious Right, Religious Left, religious representatives, religion, public debate

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