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The late sociologist Robert Bellah argued that American civil religion had become an "empty and broken shell" by the turn of the twenty-first century. Is it a concept worth reviving? Would re-imagining it help us move beyond the culture wars toward greater national cohesion? How might faith communities contribute to a newly imagined civil religion that addresses the challenges we face today?

Contributors to the conversation include Gus diZerega, David Dykes, Russell Arben Fox, Mark Galli, Anne Howard, Peter Laarman, and Jacqueline Lewis.

The Patheos Public Square is produced in partnership with Christianity Today and the Progressive Christian Initiative.


Featured Panelists

The Future of America's Civil Religion Lies in New Directions

The Future of America's Civil Religion Lies in New Directions

Gus diZerega

Hope rests with a new spiritual sensibility that is not necessarily a new religion, but rather can shape the way in which many spiritual traditions are practiced.

Civil Religion Means Everyone Is Included

Civil Religion Means Everyone Is Included

David R. Dykes

We need to defend non-sectarian civil religion today because there are many who insist, absent any valid historical evidence, that we are a "Christian" nation.

Civil Religion? Inevitable in a Free, Democratic Society

Civil Religion? Inevitable in a Free, Democratic Society

Russell Arben Fox

America's civil religion today has a very minimal establishment, which mostly finds its expression in genially liberal ways. But that does not mean it is absent.

Civil Religion Isn't Vital or Paradoxical Enough

Civil Religion Isn't Vital or Paradoxical Enough

Mark Galli

Civil religion is good as far as it goes—it does encourage a modicum of order—but it does not go far enough to bring health to a nation.

Civil Religion Starts When We Remember That We're All In This Together

Civil Religion Starts When We Remember That We're All In This Together

Rev. Anne Howard

This is just one small step toward the practice of a faith that engages the body politic on behalf of the common good.

Progressive Christianity's Role in Reviving Civil Religion

Progressive Christianity's Role in Reviving Civil Religion

Rev. Peter Laarman

We need to help our country to move closer to the norm among developed countries in respect to honoring basic human rights and respecting human dignity.

On Earth As It Is In Heaven: The Only Civil Religion That Matters

On Earth As It Is In Heaven: The Only Civil Religion That Matters

Rev. Dr. Jacqueline J. Lewis

Civil religion will not always be civilized. This is work for the bold, the sassy, and the ones willing to wrestle with angels.

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