Religion and Democracy in the United States: Danger or Opportunity?

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The United States remains a deeply religious country and religion plays an inextricably critical role in American politics. Controversy over issues such as abortion is fueled by opposition in the Catholic Church and among conservative Protestants, candidates for the presidency are questioned about their religious beliefs, and the separation of church and state remains hotly contested. While the examination of religion's influence in politics has long been neglected, in the last decade the subject has finally garnered the attention it deserves. In Religion and Democracy in the United States, prominent scholars consider the ways Americans understand the relationship between their religious beliefs and the political arena.

This collection, a work of the Task Force on Religion and American Democracy of the American Political Science Association, thoughtfully explores the effects of religion on democracy and contemporary partisan politics. Topics include how religious diversity affects American democracy, how religion is implicated in America's partisan battles, and how religion affects ideas about race, ethnicity, and gender. Surveying what we currently know about religion and American politics, the essays introduce and delve into the range of current issues for both specialists and nonspecialists.

In addition to the editors, the contributors are Allison Calhoun-Brown, Rosa DeLauro, Bette Novit Evans, James Gibson, John Green, Frederick Harris, Amaney Jamal, Geoffrey Layman, David Leal, David Leege, Nancy Rosenblum, Kenneth Wald, and Clyde Wilcox.

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What People Are Saying

David Campbell
I am highly enthusiastic about this book's engaged, yet rigorous, political science, as well as its examination of the ways in which religion and politics are intertwined. This is a rich and substantive book.
David Campbell, University of Notre Dame
The book's target audience should be scholars and students of American politics who are either unaware or skeptical of religion's relevance to their enterprise. In this regard, the book is a remarkable contribution. It brings together a fine sampling of the work that's being done today by scholars of religion and American politics all in one volume.
Laura R. Olson, Clemson University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691147291
  • Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
  • Publication date: 9/19/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 456
  • Sales rank: 834,115
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Wolfe is professor of political science at Boston College. Ira Katznelson is the Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History at Columbia University.
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Table of Contents

Contributors vii
Acknowledgments ix
Introduction by Rosa DeLauro 1

Part I: Religious Pluralism and American Democracy
Chapter 1: Political Science, Democracy, and Religion by Alan Wolfe 19
Chapter 2: Religious Diversity and American Democracy: A View from the Polls by John C. Green 46
Chapter 3: Muslim Americans: Enriching or Depleting American Democracy? by Amaney Jamal 89
Chapter 4: The Constitutions of Religious Pluralism in the United States by Bette Novit Evans 114

Part II: Religion and Democratic Values
Chapter 5: The Political Consequences of Religiosity: Does Religion Always Cause Political Intolerance? by James L. Gibson 147
Chapter 6: The Christian Right and Civic Virtue byClyde Wilcox 176
Chapter 7: Religion and Party Activists: A "Perfect Storm" of Polarization or a Recipe for Pragmatism? by Geoffrey C. Layman 212

Part III: Political Diversity and American Religion
Chapter 8: Entering the Promised Land? The Rise of Prosperity Gospel and Post-Civil Rights Black Politics by Fredrick C. Harris 255
Chapter 9: This Far by Faith? Religion, Gender, and Efficacy by Allison Calhoun-Brown 279
Chapter 10: Religion and the Political and Civic Lives of Latinos by David L. Leal 308

Part IV: Religion and Cultural Conflict
Chapter 11: Mobilizing Religious Differences in American Politics by Kenneth D. Wald and David C. Leege 355
Chapter 12: Faith in America: Political Theory's Logic of Autonomy and Logic of Congruence by Nancy L. Rosenblum 382
Conclusion: Reflections on Religion, Democracy, and the Politics of Good and Evil by Ira Katznelson 411
Index 431

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