Collection : Religion and American Public Life

At a time when faith has contributed to the decided partisanship of American politics, the study of religion and American public life has largely avoided exploring the conflicts embedded in this relationship. More often than not, however, attempts at the theoretical synthesis of politics and religion neglect the real, concrete contests within civic institutions, political parties, faith communities, and the lives of citizens and believers. What is needed is a critical engagement with the inherent tensions between religious claims about human relations, political authority, and the purpose of human existence and the tendency of modern political arrangements to limit faith to a private sphere in order to avoid conflict.

The books in the series, Religion and American Public Life, will address the tension between traditional religion and modern society through historical inquiry. Books to be published in this series will explore specific episodes, institutions, individuals, and ideas that reveal the conflicts between religion and secular society, the way that the United States has managed these tensions, and what these negotiations have meant for both the power of religious and political institutions.
Please send inquiries to: R. Laurence Moore (rlm8 [at] and Darryl Hart (dhart [at]
Forthcoming volumes in the series—

Battle Hymn of the Republic: Julia Ward Howe and the Theology of American Nationalism by Richard M. Gamble
Free Exercise: The First Amendment and America's Moderate Religious Revolution by Christopher Beneke
Between Heresy and Exceptionalism: Roman Catholics and American Identity after John F. Kennedy by Darryl G. Hart


About the Editors

R. Laurence Moore is the Howard A. Newman Professor Emeritus at Cornell University. His books include In Search of White Crows: Spiritualism, Parapsychology, and American Culture (Oxford), Religious Outsiders and the Making of Americans (Oxford), and Selling God. American Religion in the Marketplace of Culture (Oxford). With Isaac Kramnick he wrote The Godless Constitution: A Moral Defense of the Secular State (Norton).

Darryl G. Hart is a distinguished visiting professor of history at Hillsdale College. His publications include The Lost Soul of American Protestantism (Rowman & Littlefield), and A Secular Faith: Why Christianity Favors the Separation of Church and State (Ivan R. Dee).


A Fiery Gospel
The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the Road to Righteous War
Richard M. Gamble
Since its composition in Washington's Willard Hotel in 1861, Julia Ward Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic" has been used to make America and its wars sacred. Few Americans reflect on its violent and redemptive imagery, drawn freely from prophetic passages of the Old and New Testaments, and fewer still think about the implications of that...

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