Faith, Presidency, and Public Theology
Chapter 8: Bush Sr. and the Civil Religion Debate: A Re-evaluation
| 207 →
Chapter 8 Bush Sr. and the Civil Religion Debate: A Re-Evaluation
Our findings on Bush places light on the scholarly civil religion debate in the United States, since these reveal more classical Christian themes and concepts than what is normally stressed in the debate. These findings, including clear Christocentric aspects and faith experiential dimensions, require a re-evaluation of the American civil religion debate. In fact, I would prefer to specify the civil religion of George H. W. Bush as a public theology or maybe presidential public theology, i.e. to use a terminology that, for example, underlines the inadequacy and insufficiency of only using the earlier predominant French and German sociological theories in order to fully understand the religious dimension of George H. W. Bush’s presidency.
The inauguration of the contemporary debate
Sociologist Robert N. Bellah’s 1967 article “Civil Religion in America” in Deadalus, The Journal of the American Academy of Arts, inaugurated the contemporary American civil religion debate.838 The article appeared “at the height of national soul-searching during the Vietnam War” and established Bellah “as a major interpreter of American religion in the second half of the twentieth century,” according to the Encyclopedia of Religion and Society.839 Since its publication, popular and scholarly attentions have been paid to this article’s subject of the civil religion phenomenon, which he defines as the “transcendent universal religion of the nation”840 and the religious dimension of a nation’s “beliefs, symbols, and rituals.”841
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.