Religion, Public Life, and the American Polity

  • Author(s): Lugo, Luis F.
  • Series:
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 0000-00-00
  • Status: Active
  • Available in Paper: Price $26.50 | Buy Now

Religion, Public Life, and the American Polity brings together ten essays exploring the continuing vitality of religion in American public life. Featuring contributions by leading political scientists and legal scholars, the volume locates current debates within the broader contexts of history, society, and constitutional theory.

The book opens with an investigation of the contending positions on church-state relations in current American thought. The next section offers fresh reappraisals of the thinking of the Founders, especially the contributions of Madison and Jefferson; some important challenges to conventional wisdom—including the common view of Jefferson as a strict separationist—emerge from this section. The essays in the third section examine the relationship between religion and the law, showing that the courts’ decisions in First Amendment cases reveal a tendency toward incoherence and majoritarian bias. In the final section, the discussion extends to the more indirect and subtle ways in which religion and American liberal culture influence each other—for better and for worse.

Taken together, these essays shed a much-needed light on how the state can accommodate the multiplicity of faiths held by its citizens, especially as those faiths take on public expression beyond the institutional church.

The Editor: Luis E. Lugo is associate professor of political science at Calvin College. He has been the managing editor of Ethics: An International Journal of Social, Political, and Legal Philosophy.