Making Moral Citizens

How Faith-Based Organizers Use Vocation for Public Action

By Jack Delehanty

222 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, appends., notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7316-5
    Published: April 2023
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-7315-8
    Published: April 2023
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-7317-2
    Published: March 2023
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-6271-6
    Published: March 2023

Where Religion Lives

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This fascinating book takes readers inside the world of faith-based progressive community organizing, one of the largest and most effective social justice movements in the United States. Drawing on rich ethnographic observation and in-depth interviews, Jack Delehanty shows how organizers use religion to build power for change. As Delehanty convincingly demonstrates, religion is more than beliefs, doctrines, and rituals; within activist communities, it also fuels a process of personal reflection and relationship building that transforms people's understandings of themselves, those around them, and the political system.

Relational practices like one-on-one conversation and public storytelling take on new significance in faith-based community organizations. Delehanty reveals how progressive organizers use such relational practices to help people see common ground across lines of race, class, and religious sect. From this common ground, organizers work to develop and deploy shared ideas of moral citizenship that emphasize common dignity, equity, and prosperity and nurture the sense that public action is the only way one can live out religious faith.

About the Author

Jack Delehanty is assistant professor of sociology at Clark University.
For more information about Jack Delehanty, visit the Author Page.


“Jack Delehanty has written the best book on faith- and broad-based community organizing in a generation, and one of the best books in cultural sociology and the sociology of religion.”—Sociology of Religion

"An immersive, thoughtful study on the context and practices of progressive religious organizing for social justice. Grounded in outstanding qualitative research, Delehanty’s book delivers fresh insight into the relationship between religion and politics." —Gerardo Martí, author of American Blindspot: Race, Class, Religion, and the Trump Presidency

"Delehanty emerges here as an important new voice on the religious and cultural underpinnings of social movements—and perhaps the scholar best positioned to bridge conversations between faith-based organizers and their secular counterparts."—Richard L. Wood, University of New Mexico