Miller Center

Jon Shields

Political Science, University of Virginia

The Democratic Virtues of Christian Right Activism

Shields photo

Jon Shields is Associate Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College.

Shields's research interests include Christianity and democracy; social movements; and the politics of bioethics. 

Shields's dissertation focuses on the portrait of democratic education in Christian politics being principally complicated by the demands of political mobilization. That is, Christian leaders often need to mobilize apathetic or uninvolved citizens through more passionate exhortations before these deliberative norms can be taught at all. In fact, the culture war rhetoric that many scholars find so rampant in American politics is actually most commonly found in the context of mobilization. Shields argues that once Christian leaders have mobilized citizens, most then labor diligently to moderately and inform the passions they have provoked by encouraging activists to embrace deliberative norms before they practice public advocacy. He hypothesizes that this organizational tension, moreover, between the exigencies of mobilization and successful public activism highlights a deeper tension that democratic theorists need to confront between the ideals of a participatory and deliberative democracy.

Fellowship year: 2005

Mentor: James Wilson

Selected Recent Publications

The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right (Princeton University Press, 2009).

Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University. with Joshua M. Dunn (Oxford University Press, 2016).

The Real Campus Sexual Assault Problem—and How to Fix It.” with Bradford Richardson. Commentary, October 1 2015.

"Fighting Liberalism's Excesses: Moral Crusades During the Reagan Revolution." Journal of Policy History 26, no. 1 (2014).

Categories: ConservatismReligion

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