More than two hundred years have passed since the Constitution was written, yet Americans still cannot make up their minds whether religion is primarily private, public, or a combination of the two. This collection of essays explores the unsettled -and often unsettling -question of organized religion's role in contemporary public life. Richard N. Ostling reviews religious belief and practice in the United States in a survey of the ever-changing religious landscape, while Robert J. Blendon and others compare the political, moral, and religious values of the 1960s with those of the 1990s. Patrick Glynn and Alan Wolfe examine different religious responses to the recent presidential scandal, and James Q. Wilson, John J. DiIulio Jr., and Ram Cnaan examine the rise of faith-based social programs, including the shift of private funds to social service providers, the role of black churches in the inner city, and social and community work by urban religious congregations. Additional contributors include Taylor Branch, Kurt Schmoke, Cal Thomas, and Peter Wehner.
E.J. Dionne Jr. is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., USA, cochair of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group. John J. DiIulio, Jr., Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of politics, religion, and civil society at University of Pennsylvania, USA, and a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings, was a former assistant to the President and has served as a consultant for the National Institute of Justice and the National Institute of Corrections. He has authored and coauthored numerous books, including Body Count: Moral Poverty... and How to Win America's War Against Crime and Drugs (Simon & Schuster, 1996), Inside the Reinvention Machine: Appraising Governmental Reform (Brookings, 1995), Making Health Reform Work: The View from the States (Brookings, 1994), and (Basic Books, 1991).