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Religion and Progressive ActivismNew Stories About Faith and Politics$
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Ruth Braunstein, Todd Nicholas Fuist, and Rhys H. Williams

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479854769

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479854769.001.0001

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Strategic Storytelling by Nuns on the Bus

Strategic Storytelling by Nuns on the Bus

(p.289) 13 Strategic Storytelling by Nuns on the Bus
Religion and Progressive Activism

Ruth Braunstein

NYU Press

Ruth Braunstein’s chapter examines the Nuns on the Bus campaign, launched by a group of Catholic Sisters in 2012 to raise awareness of the harm that federal budget cuts would cause struggling American families. The chapter focuses on the Nuns’ use of storytelling during this campaign. Through their storytelling performances, the Nuns framed religious communities as morally superior carriers of knowledge about the effects of cuts in government spending; framed vulnerable people and the programs that serve them as morally worthy beneficiaries of government spending; and asserted the moral necessity of taking stories seriously alongside other forms of more abstract and impersonal data that inform the policymaking process. Overall, the chapter argues that this communications strategy helped the Nuns overcome challenges they faced as progressive religious actors seeking to influence public policy debates.

Keywords:   Nuns on the Bus, Catholic Sisters, federal budget, storytelling, moral, knowledge, beneficiaries, government spending, data, communications, policymaking

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