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Religion and American Public Life Lecture

Religion and American Public Life

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Publisher's Summary

You will love this timely course.

Join top moral theologian and award-winning professor Thomas Massaro, SJ, in exploring the fascinating intersection of faith and public life in America.

Americans often profess an absolute separation of church and state, but history illustrates how difficult it is to keep these aspects of the human experience completely separate. Through this series you will explore the rich interplay of religion and public affairs.

Most of the Founding Fathers seemed to assume that private religiosity could be sealed off neatly from the institutions and affairs of state, but history has demonstrated otherwise. Our legal system is dedicated to religious neutrality and freedom of religion, but the courts are under pressure to make accommodations rather than to enforce a simple version of strict separation. Many of the crucial reforms our nation has undergone, from the abolition of slavery to the achievement of civil rights for all, have been inspired by religious sentiment and activism.

In order to unpack the issues that lie below the surface of church-state relations, this series will offer the widest perspective on the role of religion in our public life. Examine the challenge of secularization, the workings of civil society, and the pattern of thought called civil religion. Explore precisely how religious voices make themselves heard in the public arena. We will also take up such controversial questions as whether America is actually experiencing a culture war and the merits of faith-based initiatives for the provision of public social services.

You will come away with an appreciation of the complex relationships among public theology, American culture, and a philosophy of government that emphasizes the pursuit of the common good. What is the most appropriate style of civil discourse for religious voices entering the public square? By surveying the major features of the church-state landscape today, reach a realistic assessment of the potential for constructive engagement of faith and public life for the years ahead.

©2009 Now You Know Media Inc. (P)2009 Now You Know Media Inc.

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