One Electorate Under God? / Edition 1

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The United States has been described as a nation with the soul of a church. Religion is discussed more explicitly and more urgently in American politics than in the public debates of any other wealthy democracy. It is certain to play an important role in the elections of 2004. Yet debates over religion and politics are often narrow and highly partisan, although the questions at hand demand a broader and more civil discussion. One Electorate under God? widens the dialogue by bringing together in one volume some of the most influential voices in American intellectual and political life.

This book draws on a public debate between former New York governor Mario Cuomo and Indiana congressman Mark Souder, who discuss how their respective faith convictions have been both shaped by and reflected in their careers as public servants.

This discussion, in turn, prompted commentary by a diverse group of scholars, politicians, journalists, and religious leaders who are engaged simultaneously in the religious and policy realms. Each contributor offers insights on how political leaders and religious convictions shape our politics.

One Electorate under God arises from the idea that public deliberation is more honest —and more democratic —when officials are open and reflective about the interactions between their religious convictions and their commitments in the secular realm. This volume —the first of its kind —seeks to promote a greater understanding of American thinking about faith and public office in a pluralistic society.

Contributors include Joanna Adams, Azizah Al-Hibri, Doug Bandow, Michael Barone, Gary Bauer, Robert Bellah, David Brooks, Harvey Cox, Michael Cromartie, John DiIulio Jr., Terry Eastland, Robert Edgar, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Richard Wightman Fox, William Galston, Robert George, Andrew Greeley, John Green, Anna Greenberg, Susannah Heschel, Representative Amo Houghton (R-New York), Michael Kazin, Martha Minow, Stephen Monsma, Mark Noll, Rabbi David Novak, Ramesh Ponnuru, Representative David E. Price (D-North Carolina), Jeffrey Rosen, Cheryl Sanders, Ron Sider, Jim Skillen, Matthew Spalding, Jeffrey Stout, John Sweeney, Roberto Suro, Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, Jim Towey, Doug Tanner, Mark Warren, Alan Wolfe, and Andrew Young.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"One Electorate is a worthwhile read...No one can leave this book without having their presuppositions probed, and for this reason alone it serves as a timely contribution, given the present polarization of the American polity." —Robert Burns, Westminster Theological Journal

"This book makes a valuable contribution to the national debate over whether this president's overt religiosity should be viewed as a worrisome threat to tolerance and pluralism, or as a welcome reinforcement of America's traditional religious commitments." —Tim Byrnes, Ph.D, Colgate University, Conscience: The Newsjournal of Catholic Opinion, 4/15/2005

"Probably nowhere else can one find the thoughts of so many truly significant contemporary thinkers who deal with the issue of religion and politics." —David P. Gushee, Journal of Church and State

"...offers insight and critique. It leaves the reader with the impression that much more discussion and analysis are needed in order to advance us all to a higher plane." — Jewish Book World, 12/1/2004

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815716433
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Series: Pew Forum Dialogue Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

E.J. Dionne Jr. is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, cochair of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group. Jean Bethke Elshtain is a Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago and cochair of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Kayla M. Drogosz is the senior research analyst for the project on religion and civil society at the Brookings Institution and coeditor of United We Serve (with E.J. Dionne Jr. and Robert E. Litan, Brookings 2003).

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Table of Contents

How would God vote? : an introduction 1
Pt. I Faith and politics in public office
In the American Catholic tradition of realism 13
A conservative Christians's view on public life 19
Continuing the conversation 24
Pt. II Expanding the dialogue
What is a Christian to do? 41
Religion, politics, and the American experience 48
The conservatory of virtue 52
The religious left, too often left out 57
American politics and the dissenting Protestant tradition 63
How Niebuhr help us kick the secularist habit : a six-step program 67
Once more, the cross and the flag 72
Common grace, natural law, and the public arena 75
Faithful consensus 78
Rendering to Caesar and to God 88
God talk and the citizen-believer 94
The politics of religion in a sinful world 96
Cuomological fallacies 101
The Puritans and American politics 106
Two faces of religious pluralism in American politics 110
Religion, politics, and a changing America 116
Protecting religion from politics 121
Faith and politics 126
The fate of the Christian left 129
The myth of secularism 134
The spiritual dimension of societal life 140
Governing religion 144
Particularist religion in a pluralist political arena 150
Voting not to vote 155
Religion, faith, and elections 159
Reasoning together 164
Faith in public office 168
The personalization of politics 172
The role of religion in electoral politics 176
Mobilizing political participation 179
Religions and the American religion 184
Religious liberty and the American founding 189
Thoughts on religion and politics 194
Belief and power 200
Dignity in work as an article of faith 202
It's the content that counts 208
Faith and the public square 212
Faith communities and American democracy 217
Faith, freedom, and toleration 222
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