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Open AccessArticle

Get out of Church! The Case of #EmptyThePews: Twitter Hashtag between Resistance and Community

College of Communication and the Arts, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ 07079, USA
Information 2020, 11(6), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/info11060335
Received: 21 May 2020 / Revised: 10 June 2020 / Accepted: 17 June 2020 / Published: 23 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Studies of Digital Society)
This study explores the relationship between politics and religion, resistance and community, on social media through the case study of #EmptyThePews. #EmptyThePews was created in August 2017 after the events in Charlottesville, calling users who attend Trump-supporting churches to leave those churches as a form of protest. What starts out as a call of action, becomes a polysemic online signifier for sharing stories of religious abuse, and thus a format for identity and community construction. An analysis of 250 tweets with #EmptyThePews revels five different uses of the hashtag, including highlighting racial, gender, and sexual identity-based discrimination; sharing stories of religious or sexual abuse; constructing a community and identity; and actively calling for people to empty churches. This Twitter hashtag did not facilitate an active movement of people leaving churches, but instead created a Twitter community. Giving voice and space to this community, however, can be seen as a form of resistance. View Full-Text
Keywords: hashtag; activism; online communities; online social movements; digital religion; Trump; evangelical churches hashtag; activism; online communities; online social movements; digital religion; Trump; evangelical churches
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Tsuria, R. Get out of Church! The Case of #EmptyThePews: Twitter Hashtag between Resistance and Community. Information 2020, 11, 335.

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