This challenging collection of essays offers a refreshing approach to the troubling--and timely--subject of religion and public policy in America, and the ways in which issues of church and state affect our national identity. The result of a series of conferences on religion and politics conducted by the Public Religion project at the University of Chicago, funded by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trust, this collection brings together an extraordinarily diverse set of contributors. Represented within its pages are the ideas and opinions of scholars, politicians, and religious leaders with backgrounds in law, politics, history, and divinity, among them Senator Paul Simon of Illinois. With its wide range of critical approaches and varied perspectives, this volume makes a vibrant contribution to the national dialogue on politics and religion. Chief among the essay topics are the evangelical roots of American political life; early conflicts between Enlightenment thinking and spiritual impulses in developing a national identity; the practical problems that today's politicians face in campaigning; the impact of constitutional and legal language regarding our definitions of religion; and the way in which the media's treatment of our spiriutal life frames our perceptions of it. These thought-provoking essays will inspire readers to rethink, argue, perhaps act, but most importantly, to converse about this timely and important issue. This volume will have wide cross-disciplinary appeal. Students and scholars of history, religious studies, and political science will find great value within its pages, as will scholars of divinity and law, and members of this general public concerned with the intersection of faith and politics in American life.
Edith Blumhofer is Director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College in Illinois and former Associate Director of the Public Religion Project. Martin Marty is Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago, and former Director of the Public Religion Project.