The Politics of Religious Conflict: Church and State in America

The Politics of Religious Conflict: Church and State in America

The Politics of Religious Conflict: Church and State in America

The Politics of Religious Conflict: Church and State in America

Excerpt

There can be little question that the United States has entered into a period of unusually rapid social change. Some of this change, it is hoped, will be purposeful and governmentally managed. Yet especially in the areas of education and social welfare, multiplying objective needs are outstripping the capacity of politicians (using that word in its broadest sense) to bargain, accommodate and build coalitions of support for governmental innovations. One problem which afflicts politicians working in the areas of education and social welfare is conflict over the proper relationship between the government and the churches. I propose to analyze church-state conflict in terms of the organized groups which are the principal combatants.

In a sprawling and diverse political system such as ours, any significant innovation in domestic policy will disturb the existing pattern of group interests and make its authors a focus of controversy. Some groups will see themselves as benefiting by a new pattern, others will feel themselves deprived and disadvantaged. It is the craft of the politician to steer a course through such choppy waters, tacking and trimming, and finally implementing that for which he has managed to marshal some consensus and which he has been able to protect from predators. The literature Of American politics is rich in studies of the interest-group interaction around such problems as taxation, conservation, agriculture and the regulation of business.Political scientists and politically concerned citizens have available to them excellent studies of business groups, labor groups and organizations representing ethnic . . .

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