Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Presidential Inaugurations: Celebration of Civil Religion

Civil religion is the folk religion of a nation; in the United States, invocation of religion is expected by Americans at events such as the Presidential inauguration, mention of God in political speeches, and of course an example of civil religion can be found on our money, which asserts "In God We Trust."    God has been invoked during times of war.  The New World Encyclopedia says that "In 1763, Jean-Jacques Rousseau coined the term "civil religion" in his The Social Contract, to describe what he regarded as the moral and spiritual foundation essential for any modern society. In the 1950s and 1960s, scholars studied civil religion as a cultural phenomenon, attempting to identify the actual tenets of civil religion in the United States of America, or to study civil religion as a phenomenon of cultural anthropology."

Dr. Gary Scott Smith says in his op-ed piece of the same title in Penn Live that civil religion binds the nation:
“The knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny,” Barack Obama proclaimed in his first inaugural address, “is the source of our confidence.” Obama also accentuated God’s grace and asked Him to bless the United States. In both campaigning for office and as president, Obama has testified to his personal faith. While he strives to represent and serve all Americans—“Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers”—as he put in his first inaugural address, he has frequently confessed his “faith in Jesus Christ as his savior and Lord.” He used religious language and scriptural quotations to comfort families who lost members at Aurora and Newtown.
Read the rest here

No comments: