This study starts with the premise that our proudly defended principle separation of church and state has never dictated a strict division between religion and politics. The authors argue that faith plays a central role in the public sphere today, among conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats alike.

Much of the book is devoted to quantitative analysis of what Americans think the appropriate role between the two spheres of life might be. The evidence suggests that they might be open--at least in principle--to the use of the state to advance a Christian politics.

At times, the evidence as presented is subject to the usual complaints about religious polling: it is far from clear that the answers people give to a polltaker would in fact translate into support for using the state to safeguard Christian values, especially if those conflicted with the maintenance of a pluralistic society.

Nonetheless, this treasure trove of information will surely come in handy for future students of the relationship between politics and faith.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus