Date of Award

3-1-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. William Boone

Second Advisor

Dr. Hashim Gibrill

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael I. N. Dash

Abstract

The separation of church and state has been a misinterpreted theme throughout United States history. The Establishment Clause, within the 1St Amendment of the United States Constitution, plants the foundational premise for the separation of church and state. The misinterpretation stems from the uncertainty of the role of the church in governmental affairs, specifically those concerning public policy. The Catholic Church continues to be one of the many dominant entities throughout society in shaping the mindsets and influencing the behaviors of the public in the United States. Therefore, this study seeks to explain and identify the relevance, influence and effect of the Catholic Church in public policy processes as it relates to the separation of church and state. This study used the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as the sample population, which consists of 174 bishops. The sample population was surveyed in order to identify the influence of the Catholic Church on public policy processes in the United States. Of the sample population, 66 bishops responded to the survey. This study also used original documents for analysis purposes in order to indicate the relevance and effect of the Catholic Church on public policy processes in the United States. Through combination of survey results and document analyses, the findings of this study indicate that the influence of the Catholic Church in public policy processes derives from Catholic Church leadership communication methods throughout society. The study findings also indicate that the relevance and effect of the Catholic Church originate from biblical doctrine driving the participation in the moral shaping of society and public policy processes.

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