This study employs a resource mobilization model to explain racial differences in congregation-based political activism. The fewer resources (i.e., members, income, clergy leadership, civic ties) that black congregations possess relative to white congregations largely accounts for racial differences in congregation-based lobbying and protest politics – forms of political activism that exact relatively high resource costs upon political activists. That is, black congregations become more heavily involved than white congregations in lobbying and protest politics when they have a resource capacity similar to that of white congregations. Despite their relatively few resources, black congregations are, on average, more likely than are white congregations to involve themselves in voter registration efforts. This finding has much to do with the heightened social-political expectations of African American congregants concomitant with the relatively low resource cost of voter registration programs.


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pp. 1581-1604
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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