Religion in Politics

• Religion has always been a major force in US politics, policy, identity and culture.
o It shapes the nation’s character, helps form Americans’ ideas about the world, and influences the ways they respond to events outside of their nation.
• A lot of Americans sense that they, themselves are a chosen people and they believe that they have a duty to spread their values throughout the world.
• The country is so religiously diverse that the balance of power always shifts.
o Conservative strains of American Protestantism have gained more supporters and liberal Protestantism (which has dominated the country during the mid-20th cen.) has weakened.
o Protestantism has shaped much of the country’s identity and remains today the majority faith in the US.
o Catholicism  2nd largest faith and largest single religious denomination in the US
To understand how contemporary changes in Protestantism are afftecting the US I will be explaining the
• 3 strains that have been the most influential (Protestantism)
o Fundamentalist
o Liberal Christianity
o Evangelical Tradition
FUNDAMENTALISTS: are emotional about their beliefs, they follow their ideas to their logical conclusion (emotional movement). They are interested in developing a consistent and all-embracing “Christian worldview” and then systematically applying it to the world.
• There was a sting of intellectual and political defeats in the 1920-30s that they retreated into an isolation and a pessimism that were foreign to the optimistic orientation of 19th cen. American Protestantism.
LIBERAL CHRISTIANITY: finds the core of Christianity in its ethical teachings rather than in its classic doctrines. They are reluctant to accept various biblical episodes as literal narrative (eg. 7 day creation, Garden of Eden, Noah’s flood), and their skepticism extends to the resurrection of Jesus. They see him as a sublime moral teacher, as they should follow through a lifetime of...