Researchers who are interested in understanding how religion affects Americans’ attitudes toward climate change have typically conceptualized religious influence as emerging from within organized religious traditions. On this view, if religion affects Catholics’ climate attitudes at all, it will be through a specifically Catholic source such as Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ or though the influence of other Catholic parishioners. This view may be missing a significant vector for religious influence on attitudes toward climate change: conservative media. Examining the transcripts of the top-rated Fox News program The Glenn Beck Program from 2009 to 2011, this talk explores how the eponymous host framed climate change in Christian nationalist terms as a threat to the Founding Father’s vision for America. Ostensibly secular media sources may be an under-researched mechanism by which religion is shaping climate attitudes, one that is worth exploring because of this religiosity’s ability to provide a sense of firm foundations in uncertain times.
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Hosted by the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life at Columbia University.