14 Jun

Religion in America

Category: Sound Thinking
By: Amy L. Graeser
Published: 06/14/04

In order to better understand religion's role in "the American scene," editors at The Public Interest have solicited essays from various writers and scholars to treat the topic for the periodical's Spring 2004 issue.

The introduction to the Spring 2004 issue of The Public Interest explains that "Indeed, the American scene cannot be fully grasped without a consideration of religion's changing role therein. And it may be no exaggeration to suggest that the country's prospects in the new century will be powerfully shaped, at home and abroad, by religious developments." In order to better understand "the American scene," editors at The Public Interest have solicited essays from various writers and scholars, including previous MARS HILL AUDIO guests Wilfred M. McClay, Stanley W. Carlson-Thies, and Michael W. McConnell. Each of the writers examines the state of religion in America from different points of view; some attend to the history of religion in America, some to the stress that the September 11 attacks and the ensuing war have placed on religion's place in the public square in America, and some to religion's influence on social policy. McClay's piece, "The Soul of a Nation," examines the state of civil religion in America and argues for the continuation of a strong civil religion. Carlson-Thies's article, "Implementing the Faith-Based Initiative," looks at the debates about the propriety and success of faith-based service providers receiving federal funds and offers methods for measuring the success of their integration into public policy. And in "Religious Souls and the Body Politic," McConnell advocates religious pluralism instead of secularism in American public life, taking into account the history of the religious life of America.

While a few of the articles from the Spring 2004 issue are available on-line, most are not. To order a print copy of the issue, call 202.785.8555. For more information about The Public Interest, visit the periodical's web pages.