Religion and Democracy in the United States: Danger or Opportunity?

By Alan Wolfe; Ira Katznelson | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

ROSA DELAURO

TO BE SURE, I am not a political scientist or theologian; nor do I study religion’s role in politics with an academic’s eye. But as a public official, a Democrat, and a Catholic, I do experience it firsthand on an almost daily basis. And so this article is not to be any kind of final analysis but rather something closer to a work in progress: I intend to offer a snapshot of my own faith and its effect on my work as a policy maker today. In the process, I hope to provide a practitioner’s opinion on the role that religion ought to play in American democracy.

Religion is an integral part of our national discourse, and there is no doubt that it has played a key role in the last three presidential elections. It is clear that the perspectives and influence of religious communities weigh heavily on our policy debates, whether the issue is poverty, war, the environment, stem-cell research, or reproductive health. Often, this can be a constructive thing: these trends, in no small part, moved Catholic Democrats in the House of Representatives, including me, to draft a Statement of Principles declaring that our faith does have bearing on the broad range of issues that we champion in the Congress and in our communities. It also moved me to work with my colleague, Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, to draft legislation that seeks common ground on the sensitive issue of abortion.

Other recent developments at the intersection of religion and public life, however, give me reason for concern: legitimate scientific conclusions manipulated toward ideological ends; religiously affiliated organizations allowed to discriminate with taxpayer dollars; and a communion controversy that flared up in 2004 and continues to threaten every Catholic politician’s ability to participate in our faith’s most sacred ritual. Indeed, too often religious faith has been used cynically as a political weapon and an election-day wedge. Our challenge today—in the Congress, in academia, and even for those in the Church’s hierarchy—is to respond by presenting a better alternative.

As a result, I believe that religious faith can and should inform the work of our democracy. It can and should restore government’s moral role in society—as long as it respects and promotes the dignity of every human person, calls us to work for the common good, unifies us into a community, and works within the confines of our Constitution and a pluralistic society.

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Religion and Democracy in the United States: Danger or Opportunity?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 444

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.