“Survival and Salvation”: Religious Situational Crisis Communication Strategies

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Religious crisis communication stretches back across history with crisis communication reflected in large-scale moments tied to institutions, for example, through the Inquisition and the Catholic Counter-Reformation and through responses from American Muslim communities following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Prior research has reflected on the value of viewing organizational crisis communication through the lens of situational crisis communication theory, and indeed it would seem the most relevant framework to employ for such research given that religious organizations respond to crisis in a similar manner to other types of organizations. This chapter provides a discussion of religion and crisis communication into three broad categories, admitting failure, using a moderated response, and reinforcing dominant narratives, which roughly correlate with situational crisis communication theory's (SCCT) rebuild, diminish, and deny strategies. Application of SCCT and observations of public reception are vital in crisis communication strategies both online and in more internal settings with parishioners, donors, and followers.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

“Survival and Salvation”: Religious Situational Crisis Communication Strategies, in Y. Cohen & P. A. Soukup (Eds.), The Handbook on Religion and Communication, John Wiley & Sons, p. 197-211