Kate Baldwin: “Democracy’s Devout Defenders”

Kate Baldwin
October 2, 2023

Associate Professor of Political Science and Global Affairs Kate Baldwin has an article in the Journal of Democracy entitled “Democracy’s Devout Defenders.”


This article examines church activism for liberal democracy in sub-Saharan Africa in recent decades. The article seeks to explain churches’ high levels of activism compared to a) other civil society organizations, specifically trade unions, and b) churches’ varied commitments to democratic activism. The argument emphasizes the protections liberal-democratic institutions offer churches to spread their ideas without being curtailed by an all-powerful ruler. The extent to which churches need these protections depends on the degree to which their activities are vulnerable to appropriation by the state, with churches that have historically invested in schools as a method of evangelization being those most likely to advocate for liberal democracy.