Prof. David Domke spoke to Episcopal Communicators about the question of Politics and Religion in America today. Domke is Professor of Communication and Journalism and author, with Kevin Coe, of The God Strategy: How Religion Became a Political Weapon in America.
His talk was titled "Religious Politics in America: Reclaiming the Founding Vision." Domke is a former journalist for a number of large newspaper and head of Journalism department at the University of Washington. He is married to a Presbyterian clergywoman. Dean Nicholas Knisely live blogged the talk on "Entangled States."
The fundamental issue is about what the proper relationship between religion and politics might be. "Lately politicians in DC have been using religion to justify their positions," Knisely writes. For example, we have heard language like "We went into Iraq to give them God’s gift of freedom."
The central part of Domke's talk is that America has moved from civil religion to political religion. Some of Nick's notes:
Political Religion not Civil Religion
1. Religion is used as a political weapon.
2. faith is used in an unprecedented measure
3. Democrats are now responding. Obama is the most religious of the candidates running to 2008
4. Martin Medhurst ”This is not the rhetoric of the founders - civic piety - it is now particular beliefs offered as justification for certain political positions.
5. We have a political dynamic that is counter to the Founder’s vision for the nation. They fled Europe to escape from the effects that religion has on civic life. (Especially it’s motivation for war and conflict)
6. The Declaration of Independence was a prophetic document (the implications of the interactions of democracy and faith.) The Constitution is the nitty-gritty - it has no mention of God on purpose. It’s kept at arms length not denied.
7. Faith tests for public office will rip our nation’s harmonious fabric apart.
8. The political dynamic that is present in America today steps right into the “War on Terror” trap.
9. Domke: It is a political dynamic that can be changed. It won’t change because people are thoughtful and concerned. We need to get out in a public fashion and become involved in the public conversation to change the conversation.
Read the rest here.