One Electorate under God?: A Dialogue on Religion and American Politics

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E.J. Dionne, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Kayla Meltzer Drogosz
Brookings Institution Press, Jun 14, 2004 - Religion - 256 pages

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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Contents

IN THE AMERICAN CATHOLIC TRADITION OF REALISM
13
A CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANS VIEW ON PUBLIC LIFE
19
CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION
24
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
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

A SIXSTEP 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 CITIZENBELIEVER
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 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
ITS THE CONTENT THAT COUNTS
208
FAITH AND THE PUBLIC SQUARE
212
FAITH COMMUNITIES AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY
217
FAITH FREEDOM AND TOLERATION
222
CONTRIBUTORS
227
INDEX
235
Copyright

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Page 169 - But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place oblige it to control itself...
Page 191 - ... enlightened by a benign religion, professed indeed and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter, — with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people?
Page 191 - Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.
Page 59 - This they said, tempting him that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
Page 191 - And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?
Page 20 - Unless the Divine Power has raised you up to be as Athanasius contra mundum, I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise, in opposing that execrable villainy which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils; but if God be for you, who can be against you?
Page 170 - Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged.
Page 58 - But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Page 60 - And all that believed were together, and had all things common. And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, ad every man had need.
Page 60 - What shall we do then? 11 He answereth, and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none ; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

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About the author (2004)

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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