U.S. Intellectual History Blog

Religion and Politics in the Contemporary United States

I’ve been reading through the September 2007 issue of the American Quarterly for the past several months. The issue is so good that I thought I would recommend it to our blog readers. It’s guest edited by R. Marie Griffith and Melani McAlister and begins with a smashing introduction (link requires a subscription) by the two editors. They argue that the two key terms of the issue, religion and politics, each contain multiple definitions that result in their unstable and sometimes contentious relationship in the past and present. One goal of the issue is to lay out the many different meanings of religion, with their corresponding descriptive and normative implications for the relationship of religion to politics.

I have already mentioned John McGreevey’s article below. In addition, readers might want to check out Kevin M. Schultz on resistance to Protestant control of schools, Barbara Dianne Savage on Benjamin Mays, Laura Levitt on Jewish Secularism, Michael G. Thompson on Reinhold Niebuhr, Luis D. Leon on Cesar Chavez, and D. Michael Lindsay on evangelicalism and the political spectrum. The whole issue is worth a look.