This course explores the relationship, and occasionally the tension, between religious and political impulses and values in America. Our approach will be both theological and political, analyzing the changes and continuity in religious and political beliefs and structures. Topics include how religion encourages political action (disputes over abolitionism, prohibition, abortion, and nuclear arms), how politics affects religion (religious pluralism, the development of black churches, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses), and how we are affected by both. Be advised that this is an area in which reasonable people can (and should?) disagree.
The following book should be purchased from the bookstore:
Robert Booth Fowler, Allen D. Hertzke, and Laura R. Olson, Religion and Politics in America (second edition).
There is also a Religion and Politics Reader which you should purchase from the instructor ($ 26; includes photocopy and copy-right fees). Readings marked with an asterisk (*) are in the Religion and Politics Reader.
The course requirements are a take-home paper (20% of the course grade), one in-class hour exam (20%), five "pop" quizzes (20%), and a final examination (40%). There will also be opportunities to earn extra-credit by participating in our in-class debates. I will be using the 12 point (A+ through F) grading scale.
Class attendance is required but not recorded. Missed quizzes can not be made up unless you have a dean's excuse.
Please note that I originally developed this course with Dr. Norman Spellmann. Much of this syllabus and much of what I know about the "Religion" part of our "Religion and Politics" topic is the product of his wise teaching and counseling. I thank Dr. Spellmann for his assistance.
January 11: Why My Mother Warned Me Not to Talk About Religion and Politics and
Why We Are Going to Contradict Her.
January 13: The Puzzle of Religion in America
Read: Gould, "The Persistently Flat Earth" (Handout).
Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 1-3, 28-37, and 51-52.
January 15-20: Religion in the "Old" World
Read for January 15:
A. James Reichley, Religion in American Public Life, pp. 9-52 (on reserve).
Recommended: Pelikan, The Riddle of Roman Catholicism, pp. 94-109 (on reserve).
Manschreck, A History of Christianity, vol. II, pp. 69, 80-82, 163-173, 178-
179, 184-185, 189-193, 255-256, 311 (on reserve).
Read for January 20: Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers, pp. 12-35 (on reserve).
January 22-25-27: Religion and Politics in the "New" World
Read for January 22:
Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 5-27.
*John Wise, "Democracy Is Founded in Scripture."
Read for January 25-27:
*"Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance."
*"Jefferson's Act for Establishing Religious Freedom."
*"A Petition Relating to Church Establishment."
*"House and Senate Debates."
*"Occasional Letters Regarding Religion and Government."
January 28 (Thursday): You are required to attend the lecture by Dr. Wade Clark Roof, "Remaking Religion: Americans and Their Spiritual Quests," at 4 PM in Cullen Auditorium. This replaces our February 12 class. If you can not attend the Roof lecture because of a competing class, job, or required activity, you must notify me no later than January 21. The Roof lecture will be a legitimate subject for a pop quiz or test question.
January 29-February 15: Here Come the Judges! Or, Church/State Relations From a
Read for January 29-February 1:
Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 229-230.
*Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S.
A Time-Out For a Case-Study in an "American" Religion: The
*Smith, Handy, and Loetscher, American Christianity, "Variant Orthodoxies."
*"Latter Say Saints and New Revelation."
Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, review pp. 12-13, and read pp. 204-206.
*Reynolds v. U.S.
*Everson v. Board of Education.
Read for February 3-5:
Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 230-238.
*Zorach v. Clauson
*School District v. Schempp
*Marsh v. Chamber
*Lynch v. Donnelly
*Lemon v. Kurtzman
*Mueller v. Allen
*Waltz v. Tax Commission
*Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School District.
On Wednesday, February 10, at 4:15 PM, Professor Douglas Laycock of the University of Texas Law School will speak on "Congress, the Court and Civil Liberties" in the "Marsha" Ballroom, McComb Center. Professor Laycock is one of the nationís leading legal scholars on the Religious Clauses of the First Amendment. There will be a reception co-hosted by the Pre-Law Society immediately following his talk.
Please Note: (1) We will also hold class at our regular time on February 10. (2) Professor Laycock's lecture may be the topic for a pop quiz or test question. (3) If you can not attend the lecture because of a competing class, job, or required activity, you must notify me no later than February 1.
You are also invited to attend a free dinner and chat with Professor Laycock about his talk at 5:45 PM in the "Connie" Ballroom, McComb Center I need your firm commitment to attend dinner by class on Monday, February 1.
Read for February 8-10-15:
Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 238-249,221-227 (yes, in this order).
A Second Time-Out For a Second Case-Study in an
"American" Religion: the Jehovah Witnesses.
*Cantwell v. Connecticut.
*West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette.
Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 206-207.
*Braunfeld v. Brown.
*Sherbert v. Verner.
*Wisconsin v. Yoder.
*U.S. v. Ballard.
*U.S. v. Seeger.
*Gillette v. U.S.
*Employment Division of the State of Oregon v. Smith.
*Church of the Lukumi Bablu Aye,Inc. v. Hialeah.
*"Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993."
*City of Boerne v. Flores.
N.B.: There will be no class on February 12. The special lecture on January 28 replaces this class meeting.
February 17: Group Discussion Topic: "Should There Be a 'Wall of Separation' Between
Church and State?"
Read: Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 209-221.
February 19-22: Democratizing Christianity
Read for February 17:
*Nathan Hatch, "The Democratization of Christianity and the Character of
*"Isaac Backus and a Bill of Rights."
Read for February 22:
*"Freedom and Renewal--Religion in the Struggle for Freedom."
A brief take-home paper (5 pages) will be due at the
beginning of class on February 24. papers turned in
after the beginning of class (defined as the first 5
minutes of class) will not be accepted.
February 24: Panel discussion on "Is America a Christian Nation?"
Three or four volunteers will present a brief (3-5 minute) synopsis of their take-home papers as a way to develop a class discussion about what would be a reasonable response to the take-home paper assignment given what we have learned so far in the course. What questions or topics do we need to know more about before we can come to an informed conclusion on the role of religion and politics in American life?
February 26: Christianizing Democracy--"The Spirit of Freedom and the Spirit of
Read: *Tocqueville, Democracy in America (excerpts).
March 1-3-5: Religion and Voting Behavior
Read: Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 87-114.
March 8-10: The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Evangelism--Guest Speaker: Dr.
Norman Spellmann, Emeritus Professor of Religion and Philosophy
Read: Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 37-41.
*American Christianity, II: 10-19, 167-78, 182-86, 186-91.
Please note that Spring Break begins at 5 PM on March 12. Yes, we do meet on March 12.
March 12-22: "The Rise of the Religious Right"
Read for March 12:
Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 137-156, 77-83.
Read for March 22:
"Does the Religious Right Threaten American Freedoms?" (Handout).
*Richard John Neuhaus, "What Do the Fundamentalists Want?"
March 24: Group Discussion Topic: "Should personal religious beliefs affect decisions
by public officials?"
Read: *John F. Kennedy, "Remarks on Church and State."
*James A. Pike, "A Roman Catholic in the White House?"
*"Abortion: Should Public Officials Protect the 'Right to Choose'?"
And skim (not skip!): : Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 115-136.
March 26: One Hour Examination. A preparation sheet for this exam will be distributed in class on March 12.
March 29-31: Mainline Protestantism
Read for March 29:
Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 41-44.
*"The Church and Industry" [Federal Council of Churches].
*"The Bishops Program."
Read for March 31:
*"The Threat of Mass Destruction."
April 5: The Politics of Mainline Protestantism
Read: Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 54-69.
April 7-9: "Catholicism in a New Land and in a New Tone"
Read for April 7:
Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 44-47.
Read for April 9:
Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 69-75.
April 12: Group Discussion Topic: "Should churches lobby?"
Read: *Richard P. McBrien, Caesar's Coin.
April 14-16: The Black Church
Read: Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 157-173.
*David Wills: "Beyond Commonalty and Plurality."
April 19-21: "Non-Christians"
Read: Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 47-53,75-79, 83-85, 193-204, 207-208.
April 23: New Theologies, New Politics, and Old Problems--Feminist Theology--Guest
Speaker: Dr. Beverly Jones, Associate Chaplain and Director of Religious Life
Read: Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 174-192.
April 26: Group Discussion Topic: "A Civil Religion?"
Read: *Bellah, "A Civil Religion?"
April 28: Religion and American Politics
Read: Fowler, Hertzke, and Olson, pp. 250-267.
April 30: A debate: The case for and against religious influences in politics.
Final Exam: May 6 (THURSDAY), 6-9 PM.
11-11:50 Mondays and Wednesdays
2:00-3:00, Tuesdays and Thursdays
By appointment, (x) 1976
Room 242 Mood
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org