Over the course of his presidency, Washington combined this utilitarian case for government support of religion with a vigorous defense of religious liberty and a denial that the United States was, in any official or legal capacity, a Christian nation. Writing to the Swedenborgian New Jerusalem Church of Baltimore, Washington declared that in “this Enlightened Age and in this Land of equal Liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.” Additionally, as Meyerson notes, Washington “was frequently urged to express his support for a religious interpretation of the national government, and each time he refused.”
Any work (book, address, essay, etc.) presented or published in 2012 or subsequently will be eligible for consideration for the 2019 Award. Nominations are invited from religious organizations, appropriate academic associations, religious leaders and scholars, presidents of universities or schools of religion, publishers and editors of scholarly journals. Self-nominations will not be accepted or considered. There will be no discrimination based on religious affiliation or belief or lack thereof. The Award Committee encourages submissions from a wide variety of intellectual and/or religious perspectives. Previous winners are not eligible for subsequent awards.
Following this line of argument,it is worth considering whether the very special placing of the references toGod in Kennedy's address may not reveal something rather important and seriousabout religion in American life.
provides balanced views of religion and spirituality.One remarkable essay is from John Pavlovitz, a Christian minister with 18 years in the field.
Isn't DwightEisenhower reported to have said "Our government makes no sense unless it isfounded in a deeply felt religious faith-and I don't care what it is,"and isn't that a complete negation of any real religion?
Fortunately, since the American civil religion isnot the worship of the American nation but an understanding of the Americanexperience in the light of ultimate and universal reality, the reorganizationentailed by such a new situation need not disrupt the American civilreligion's continuity.
It would necessitate the incorporation of vital international symbolisminto our civil religion, or, perhaps a better way of putting it, it would resultin American civil religion becoming simply one part of a new civil religion ofthe world.
The U.S. Supreme Court has used the Fourteenth Amendment to apply the First Amendment to state and local governments. For a good discussion of this process and different ways the Court has interpreted the religion clauses, see Henry J. Abraham and Barbara A. Perry, , 7th ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 29–91, 221–325.
Even Thomas Jefferson observed: “Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious disciple, has been delegated to the General [i.e., federal] Government. It must then rest with the States, as far as it can be in any human authority.” Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808, in Dreisbach and Hall, , p. 531. The Founders think legislators should take religion and morality into account when the national government is acting within its enumerated powers. See, for instance, the debates in the first Congress over the assumption of state debts and excise taxes in , 14 vols. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972–2004), Vol. 10, pp. 568, 581; Vol. 13, pp. 1419–1424; Vol. 14, p. 247.
In 1607, England established its first colony in North America around the Chesapeake Bay, and nearly a decade later established a second colony in present-day New England....
Daniel L. Dreisbach, Mark D. Hall, and Jeffry H. Morrison, (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004) (containing essays about George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Witherspoon, Benjamin Franklin, James Wilson, George Mason, and Daniel and Charles Carroll); Dreisbach, Hall, and Morrison, (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009) (containing essays about Abigail Adams, Samuel Adams, Oliver Ellsworth, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry, John Jay, Thomas Paine, Edmund Randolph, Benjamin Rush, Roger Sherman, and Mercy Otis Warren); Dreisbach and Hall, (containing eight thematic essays and profiles of John Dickinson, Isaac Backus, John Leland, Elias Boudinot, Gouverneur Morris, and John Hancock); Dreisbach and Hall, (a massive collection of primary source documents on religious liberty and church–state relations in the Founding era). See also John E. O’Connor, (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1986), and Marc M. Arkin, “Regionalism and the Religion Clauses: The Contribution on Fisher Ames,” , Vol.47 (Spring 1999), pp. 763–828.
The civil religion has been a point of articulationbetween the profoundest commitments of Western religious and philosophicaltradition and the common beliefs of ordinary Americans.
If the whole God symbolism requires reformulation, there will beobvious consequences for the civil religion, consequences perhaps of liberalalienation and of fundamentalist ossification that have not so far beenprominent in this realm.