Religion, Economics, and Public Policy: Ironies, Tragedies, and Absurdities of the Contemporary Culture Wars

Religion, Economics, and Public Policy: Ironies, Tragedies, and Absurdities of the Contemporary Culture Wars

Religion, Economics, and Public Policy: Ironies, Tragedies, and Absurdities of the Contemporary Culture Wars

Religion, Economics, and Public Policy: Ironies, Tragedies, and Absurdities of the Contemporary Culture Wars

Synopsis

As Americans begin to dismantle the safety net of the New Deal era, the most popular version of the culture wars' thesis paints an arguably cosmic battle between defenders of religious orthodoxy who embrace laissez-faire capitalism and secular elites who have imposed a Marxist welfare state upon an unsuspecting populace. Walsh shows that this thesis ignores the role of religious leaders in legitimizing the types of programs embodied in America's approach to the welfare state.

Excerpt

My passion for exploring the relationship between religion, economics, and public policy began when I was a child in Chicago’s Sunset Hotel, and it was deepened by my experiences in rural Illinois. Even as a child, I could sense that people’s views on religion played some role in their attitudes toward wealth and poverty. Since then, I have had the opportunity to read many of the classic statements by theologians, social scientists, and historians. As a scholar of religion, my goal is to present insights into all of the religions while claiming to represent none of them—an impossible goal capable of various degrees of approximation.

When acknowledging those people who have contributed to the completion of this book, I must first mention my students at Indiana University, Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI), who have taught me very much. I would particularly like to acknowledge those students who have taken my courses in Religion and Contemporary American Politics; Religions, Ethics, and U.S. Society; and Comparative Religious Ethics.

I would also like to acknowledge the faculty members in the Religious Studies Department at IUPUI who have provided critical feedback through departmental colloquiums to very rough drafts of Chapters 1 and 4. In addition, I would like to thank some of my other colleagues at IUPUI for providing critical feedback to one or more chapters of this book: Luise Morton, John Tilley, Michael Burke, Steve Russell, and David Bivin. Dan Thompson provided critical feedback for the entire manuscript, and for his diligence I am particularly thankful. I would also like to thank Gary Dorrien

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