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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.