Spiritualizing Politics without Politicizing Religion: The Example of Sargent Shriver

Spiritualizing Politics without Politicizing Religion: The Example of Sargent Shriver

Spiritualizing Politics without Politicizing Religion: The Example of Sargent Shriver

Spiritualizing Politics without Politicizing Religion: The Example of Sargent Shriver


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The clash of religion and politics has been a steady source of polarization in North America. In order to think wisely and constructively about the spiritual dimension of our political life, there is need for an approach that can both maintain the diversity of belief and foster values founded on the principles of religion.

In Spiritualizing Politics without Politicizing Religion, James R. Price and Kenneth R. Melchin provide a possible framework, approaching issues in politics via a profile of Sargent Shriver (1915-2011), an American diplomat, politician, and a driving force behind the creation of the Peace Corps. Focusing on the speeches Shriver delivered in the course of his work to advance civil rights and build world peace, Price and Melchin highlight the spiritual component of his efforts to improve institutional structures and solve social problems. They contextualize Shriver’s approach by contrasting it with contemporary, landmark decisions of the U.S Supreme Court on the role of religion in politics. In doing so, Spiritualizing Politics without Politicizing Religion explains that navigating the relationship of religion and politics requires attending to both the religious diversity that politics must guard and the religious involvements that politics needs to do its work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442694217
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Publication date: 03/31/2022
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 200
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

James R. Price is the executive director of the Sargent Shriver Peace Institute.

Kenneth R. Melchin is a professor emeritus in Theology and director of the Lonergan Centre at Saint Paul University.

Table of Contents

1. Religion and Politics: Doing Things Differently
1.1 Sargent Shriver
1.2 The Mess We’re In
1.3 Doing Things Differently
1.4 Interiority and Method
1.5 Shriver the Peacemaker
1.6 Outline of the Argument

2. The Public Faith of Sargent Shriver, 1955-1959
2.1 Shriver’s Religious Vocation to Public Life
2.2 Catholics and American Politics
2.3 Religion, Schools, and the “Wall of Separation”
2.4 Shriver’s Vision: Religious Resources for Guarding Diversity
2.5 The Campaign Against Racism
2.6 The Turn to Interiority
2.7 Concluding Remarks

3. Shriver on Spirituality and Politics 1961-1964
3.1 Shriver’s Vocation and the Peace Corps Years
3.2 The “Wall of Separation”
3.3 Political Backlash
3.4 Differentiating and Relating Spirituality and Politics: What Shriver Said
3.5 From Charity to Spirituality and Compassion
3.6 Spirituality, Politics, and the Peace Corps: What Shriver Did
3.7 Concluding Remarks

4. Explaining What Shriver Did
4.1 Religion and Politics: Shriver’s Catholic Tradition
4.2 Coming to Terms with Diversity
4.3 Transposing the Tradition: Diversity and Interiority
4.4 Interiority and Conflict: The Insight Approach
4.5 Religion and Politics Revisited

5. Religion, Politics, and the Peace Corps
5.1 The Peace Corps
5.2 How the Peace Corps Works
5.3 Interiority and Spirituality
5.4 Spiritual Values and the Peace Corps
5.5 Resolving Conflicts and Building Peace: The Peace Corps and the Insight Approach
5.6 Concluding Remarks

6. The Way Forward
6.1 Comprehensive Doctrines
6.2 Philosophical Method
6.3 Exemplary Figures


What People are Saying About This

Richard M. Liddy

"Spiritualizing Politics without Politicizing Religion is an important text, which serves as a much-needed balm for the reader, like gentle rain on parched desert sand. The values and aims articulated, especially in Shriver's speeches, are uplifting and heart-warming. The language of compassion, peace, and personal transformation is disappearing from everyday discourse and this book serves as a necessary reminder of the common good we can all pursue."

Andrea Bartoli

"James R. Price and Kenneth R. Melchin have written a much-needed and remarkable book that brings to life the possibility of religion and politics coming together for the good of all. Politics and religion are both contentious and complex. The approach Price and Melchin offer, drawing on the example of Sargent Shriver, could help many find their way out of the oppositional mess of the present. Spiritualizing Politics without Politicizing Religion will be a valuable book for those seeking reason and nuance in the midst of challenging trends."

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