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U.S. Religion and Politics

This course considers how religion and politics have influenced each other in the United States, as well as the ways that Americans have understood those influences. Our major questions include: Is the United States a Christian nation, a secular nation, or something else entirely? When has religion promoted, or prevented, bigotry, conflict, and violence? What exactly do we mean by “separation of church and state”? In what ways has religion shaped the politics of gender and race? How have Americans dealt with the nation’s bewildering religious diversity? Why have faith and science been so often in conflict (or have they)? How have religious people sought to reform American politics and society? What is the relationship of religion to American democracy?


This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.

Joseph Kip Kosek

George Washington University

Private College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, History

Catholic, General Comparative Traditions, Indigenous, Judaism, Protestant
Religous Tradition

Gender/Women/ Sexuality, Politics/Law/Government, Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars, Race/Ethnicity, Nationalism/War/Civil Religion, Science/Technology/Environment

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