Religion and Politics in the United States / Edition 5

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From marriage equality, to gun control, to immigration reform and the threat of war, religion plays a fascinating and crucial part in our nation's political process and in our culture at large. Now in its seventh edition, Religion and Politics in the United States includes analyses of the nation's most pressing political matters regarding religious freedom, and the ways in which that essential constitutional freedom situates itself within modern America.

The book also explores the ways that religion has affected the orientation of partisan politics in the United States. Through a detailed review of the political attitudes and behaviors of major religious and minority faith traditions, the book establishes that religion continues to be a major part of the American cultural and political milieu while explaining that it must interact with many other factors to influence political outcomes in the United States.

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Editorial Reviews

John C. Green
Religion and Politics in the United States is among the premier texts on the subject, expanded and improved in this edition. Clear and comprehensive, I can think of no better introduction to the place, promises—and perils—of faith in the American political process.
Fredrick Harris
Wald and Calhoun-Brown have updated and extended one of the leading texts in religion and politics. This timely new volume uncovers one of the most important yet understudied phenomena in American life: how citizens' religious beliefs and institutions both promote and constrain their involvement in politics. As religion emerges at the center of debates in American politics, now more than ever this volume is critical to students as they attempt to unravel the complexity of religion as both a diversionary and liberating force in the body politic.
Clyde Wilcox
The fifth edition of this classic text does something I thought would be impossible: it improves on the original. The new coverage of religion, gender, and sexual minorities is a nice addition to an already comprehensive text. The book is an indispensable introduction to the topic of religion and politics, and is highly recommended for political scientists, sociologists, and anyone who wishes to know more about this important topic.
A new edition of the well respected analysis of religious influence impacting US national agendas, stressing the diversity of religion in the US and its myriad manifestations of political contact. Wald (political science, U. of Florida) applies rigorous scholarship to the question of a secular society, the history of religion and American culture and politics, the different branches of government influenced by religious concerns, and the political mobilization of religious groups. Included in this volume is new material covering political controversies linked to religion such as Waco and domestic religious terrorism, and recent Supreme Court decisions and proposed constitutional amendments e.g. the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Includes statistical tables and graphs. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
James O'Hara
I look forward to the seventh edition of Religion and Politics in the United States. Having used the fifth and sixth editions in my class, it is reassuring to know that Wald and Calhoun are keeping pace with the dynamic, ever-changing political impact of religion in our pluralistic society. Their research is thorough, current, and prudently balanced, providing a comprehensive perspective on this significant topic while, at the same time, recognizing the interaction of religion with many other factors.
Terri Fine
This book provides an excellent foundation for why religion in politics matters in the United States today. The authors use a wide range of sources in explaining why and how the U.S. is exceptional in the impact of religion in politics and on society more generally. The text references a wide array of primary source documents, U.S. Supreme Court cases, and public opinion data, all of which helps students explore religion and politics through multiple lenses. The text provides an excellent foundation to be used in different course modalities, such as on-line and face-to-face in that the text is strong as a stand-alone text, but is also flexible enough to complement outside readings and other materials.
Richard Foster
This new edition of Wald and Calhoun-Brown’s classic text retains all the strengths of earlier editions, yet with crucial updates to data on court cases, election results, and the political impulses of the many different denominations engaged in political discourse. Along the way the authors’ analysis of the interplay between religious values and secular ones in the American political arena is enlightening and even surprising. They don’t force their conclusions, but let the data speak for itself.
Goldie Shabad
Religion and Politics in the United States offers a comprehensive survey of the complex relationship between religion and politics in America. It provides an empirically rich up-to-date portrait of public opinion regarding morally or religiously based issues and variations in attitudes among religious groups toward these issues. It also shows how attitudes have changed over time. The authors situate their discussion in a balanced review of competing theories about the status of religion and the role it plays in the politics of advanced democracies, and give particular attention to explanations of why the U.S. is different. Moreover, they provide a nuanced deliberation of both the positive and ill effects of religion on American democracy. It is an invaluable text for both students and scholars of religion and politics in the U.S.
F. David Levenbach
Religion and Politics in the United States is the best single analysis of the topic to be found. It carefully covers the various ways in which politics and religion are implicated by each other, incorporating a wealth of data which are analyzed with great clarity. The research literature on which Wald and Calhoun-Brown draw is completely documented to facilitate further research, and the book is nicely written. Undergraduate students manage it easily, but it will also serve well graduate students and others looking for a comprehensive treatment of this area of study.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742540408
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2006
  • Edition description: Fifth Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.41 (w) x 9.27 (h) x 1.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth D. Wald is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

Allison Calhoun-Brown is associate professor of political science at Georgia State University.

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Table of Contents

1 A secular society 1
2 Religion in the American context 24
3 Religion and American political culture 39
4 Religion and the state 65
5 Mobilizing religious interests 109
6 Religion and political action 143
7 Religion and public opinion 183
8 The political mobilization of evangelical Protestants 206
9 Continuity and change in the religious center : Catholics, mainline Protestants, and Jews 247
10 Religion and the politics of ethnic and religious minorities 283
11 The other minorities : women and gay people 313
12 Religion and American political life 348
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