The Deliberative Pulpit? The Democratic Norms and Practices of the PCUSA


Paul A. Djupe, Department of Political Science, Denison University, Granville, OH 43230. E-mail:


In contrast to typical approaches that view religion as problematic or benign, thicker conceptions of religion's place in promoting and sustaining democratic politics are possible. This includes religious organizations modeling democratic practices and engaging in debate on common terms. We initiate this program of inquiry with data from a survey of Presbyterian Church, USA clergy gathered during the late summer and fall of 2009. We asked explicitly about clergy commitment to democratic norms and practices as reflected in their public speech and small group activities in their congregations. We use this article to explain variance in the results, looking especially to see if democratic commitments fall at the expense of religious competition, organizational maintenance, and personal preference and increased conservatism.