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."