Seton Hall University
Department of Sociology/Anthroplogy
SOCI 2416: Religion in American Life  
Spring, 2003
Prof. Philip M. Kayal; Office: A&S Hall 214
Office Hours: MTR 10-00-11:00am; 12-1:00pm
and by Appointment
                                                                Course Outline
Religion in American life is, for many, the story of American soci­ety. The central story in American history. It is virtually impossible to understand our society and culture without knowing how religion influenced the founding of the nation and our demographic contours. Religion, as either a social (political) movement or institution, has been integrated into the nation's so­cial structure since the founding of the nation.
After examining what religion is and how it sociologically functions in society, we will review the historical forces and circumstances which have given rise to the "peculiar" social and political form that American religion has taken. To do this successfully you must quickly read the first three chapters of Hudson and Corrigan (1999) listed below. Religion has always been part of national life. It has always been political. Also, American religion is either organizational or decentralized, often anti-intellect­ual, either pro and counter cultural, and integrative or divisive. Our primary goal will be to examine the relationship of religion to social and cultural plural­ism.
Doing this effectively, means examining the original intent behind both the constitutional guarantee of religious liberty and the non-establishment status of organized religion.  We will differentiate between negative and positive pluralism and how these affect social structure. This means determining whet­her or not religion is or is not really established here.
When this is done, we will be able to evaluate the present nature and function of religion (especially Roman Catholicism) in American society. In addition to focusing on the presence of a "religious factor" (however conceived) on both the economic and social lives of most Americans, we will look at the particular relationship of religion to prejudice, nationalism, AIDS/sex educa­tion, legalized abortion, prayer in public schools, mangers on public property, etc., and the American political process in general. 
If, in fact, religion is aligned with the powers that be and the social structure, then we need to look at how this relationship affects the disinherited, those in the counter-culture, and those active in challenging or changing the accepted order of things. The Amish, for example, represent a religious subculture within the na­tional society which is opposed to many of things that most of us take for granted as good and Christian. The same is true of hippies, Moonies, Jesus Freaks, Charismatics, evangelicals, and the "moral" ma­jority, and now, "new age people."
Attending all classes are required Assignments are expected to be done and returned on time, properly formatted, spell-checked and always stapled.  Grades will primarily be computed from tests and projects.  Other subtle indicators of your progress in your knowledge of this subject that will affect your grade are attendance, class participation, and classroom etiquette (professionalism, punctuality, behavior, etc.).  Students who must miss class or be delayed in an assignment are to explain why to the professor before the event.  All long term absences must first be reported to the Dean of Community Services in the University Center to be considered valid
Academic Integrity:
It is expected that any work submitted in courses be the product of the efforts of the student presenting the work, and that the contributions of others to the finished product be appropriately acknowledged. The presentation of another's work as one's own is a serious violation of the academic process, and will be penalized accordingly.  The decision on the appropriate penalty is primarily the professor's and could include expulsion from class, the univer­sity, and/or a failing grade.  However, the office of the Dean will be included in all decisions.
Term Projects:  Do  the following project
A) Religious Journey
After reading the introduction to Spiritual Marketplace by Roof, proceed to Chapter 1 entitled Varieties of Spiritual Quest.  After reading these interviews and the section on Context of Analysis, apply these ideas to yourself. Write your own spiritual-search autobiography. Locate yourself anywhere you want on the continuum he outlines.  The assumption is that given the data on religious searching in America (90% of Americans claim some interest, identification with, belief in, etc. something supernatural), you should be thinking about God, the sacred, meaning, purpose, etc. So let's see what your feelings or views are. Explain why and how you feel this way and how you fit into the general pattern(s) of American society.
B: News Story Analysis
Students are to follow a news story in The New York Times on some aspect of religion in America and relate it to an issue outlined in Church and State.  This Journal  will be handed out to you in class. There are always stories about the relationship or role of religion in American society in the print media.. For example, a Catholic women running for public office was excommuni­cated for supporting abortion, a nun working for the state was silenced for dispensing money to poor women for abortions, parents are on trial for the death of their son because as Jehovah Wit­nesses, they re­fused a blood transfusion, people wonder about the sacredness of "the flag," towns have been forbidden to put up Christmas mangers, prayer in public school is always debated, the ordination of women and gays is hotly contested, and a hundred more items of this type are reviewed constantly in the news. Now we have the President's initiative to fund faith based initiatives.
Be sure to check the NY TIMES to get the most contemporary information. There is a regular Religion Section in the TIMES on Saturday. You register for the NY TIMES on line by typing in www. Nothing can be easier.
Follow the story and analyze it sociologically in terms of the theory and concepts of this course. I am giving you the bulk of the analysis from a Civil Liberties Perspective as presented in the Journal of Church and State. You probably will have to read up on the particular issue, problem, or group  you are looking at and I encourage you to do so.  There are some general references listed at the end of this syllabus.  Your main concern should be to illustrate why and how some issue (flag burning, abortion, etc?) is related to some constitutional question stemming from the separation of church and state and/or "civil religion" as outlined in class.
Required Readings:
Hudson W and J. Corrigan
            1999                Religion in America (6th edit). New Jersey: Prentice Hall
Roof, Wade Clark
            1999                Spiritual MarketPlace: Baby Boomers and the Remaking of
                                    American Religion. New Jersey: Princeton Univ. Press.
Required Articles (on reserve):
All of the following can be found copied in the reserve room. They can also be retreived from the original sources.  There is a Win­ter, 1967-8 issue of Daedalus dedicated to the topic of Relig­ion In American life which you may wish to consult.
Singer, Milton
            1974                "Culture and Religion,"  The Center Magazine,
                                    Vol. 7, # 6 (Nov.-Dec). pp. 47-65.
Himmelfarb, Miilton
            1967                "Secular Society: A Jewish Perspective." Daedalus,
                                    (Winter), p. 220.
            1961                "The Extent of Religious Influence in American Pub­lic Schoools. In Knudten, op.cit. p. 436.
Pfeffer, Leo
            1958                "Religion and the State: Religious Liberty In Catho­lic Dogma, History and Practice."  In Schneider, op.cit., p. 600.
Katz, Wilbur G. and H . Southerland
            1967                "Religious Pluralism and the Supreme Court." Daeda­lus, (Winter), Vol. 96,
                                       # 1, p. 180.
Bellah, Robert
            1967                "Civil Religion in America." in Daedalus,
                                    op.cit. p. 1.
            1967                "Civil Religion and the American Future," Religious Education
                                      Vol. LXXI  (May-June).
Mathisen, James A.
            1989                "Twenty Years After Bellah: Whatever Happend to American Civil Religion?" Sociological Analysis, Vol. 50:2, pp. 129-146.
Gamaron, Adam
            1990                "Civil Religion in American Schools," Sociological Analysis. Vol. 51:3, Fall, pp. 235-56.
The following articles are taken from Monahan, Mirola and Emerson's Sociology of Religion (New Jersey: Prentice Hall,  2001). They are on reserve and on E-reserve and will be assigned to individual as the subject matter arises and student interest in topic increases. Class report will be given..
Geertz, Clifford.  "Religion as a Cultural System" Pp. 16-23
Bellah, Rober. "Civil Religion in America." Pp. 43-47.
Kurien, Prema. "Becoming American by Becoming Hindu." Pp. 83-89.
Daly, Mary. "The Spiritual Revolution: Women's Liberation as Theological RE-education." Pp. 181-125
Mirola, William. "Introduction to Social Class and Religion." Pp. 144-150.
Hunter, James. "Culture Wars: The Challenge of Homosexuality." Pp. 180-183.
Berger, Peter. "Secularism and Pluralism." Pp. 201-204.
Young. Wendy W. "Introduction to Alternative Religions." Pp. 258-263.
Melton, J. Gordon. "Modern Alternatives in the West." Pp. 266-283.
Cassanova. Jose. "Catholicism in the United States: From Private to Public Denomination. Pp. 344-351.
Wald, Kenneth. "The Political Mobilization of Evangelical Protestants." Pp. 351-360.
                                                     Classic Bibliographic Sources
Greeley, Andrew
            1972                The Denominational Society. Illinois: Scott Foreman Co.                               
Hammond, Phillip and Benton Johnson, eds.
            1970                American Mosaic: Social Patterns of Religion in the United States.
Hammond, Philip
            1976                "The Sociology of American Civil Religion: A Biblio­graphic Guide," Sociological Analysis. Vol. 37.
Knudten, Richard
            1967                The Sociology of Religion: An Anthology. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Lippy, Charles H. and Peter W. Williams
            1988                Encylopedia of the American Religious Experience. New York: Charles Scribner and Sons.  Three Volumes.
Neibuhr, H. Richard
            1929                The Social Sources of Denominationalism.  New York: The World PUblishing Co. (Meridan Books, 195­7).
O'Dea, Thomas
            1958                The American Catholic Dilemma. New York: Sheed and Ward.
Schneider, Louis
            1964                Religion, Culture and Society.  New York: John Wil­ey.
Yinger, J. M.
            1959                Religion, Society and the Individual. New York: Macmillan.
Other articles relative to the subject of this course can be found in Sociological Analysis (now called the Sociology of Religion), The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Daedalus, Journal of Church and State, etc.
                                                           Contemporary Sources
Gallup G. and D. Michael Lindsay
            1999                Surveying the Rel. Landscape: Trends
                                    in U.S.  Beliefs. Penna:  Morehouse Publ.    
Berger, Peter
            1992                A Far Glory: The Quest for Faith in an Age of Credulity.  New York: Free Press.
Berry, Jason
            1992                Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Catholic Priests and the Sexual Abuse of Children. New York: Doubleday.
Blanchard, Dallas A. and Terry J. Prewitt
            1993                Religious Violence and Abortion: The Gideon Project. Gainesville, FL:University of Press of Florida.
Chryssides, George D.
            1991                The Advent of Sun Myung Moon. New York: St. Martin's Press.
Davidman, Lynn
            1991                Tradition in a Rootless World: Women Turn to Orthodox Judaism. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.
Haddad, Yvonne Yazbeck andJane I. Smith
            1994                Muslim Communities in North America. New York: SUNY Press.
Hammond, Philip E.
            1992                Religion and Personal Autonomy: The Third Disestablishment in America. Columbia: University of So. Carolina Press.
Handy, Robert T.
            1991                Undermined Establishment: Church-State Relations in America. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press.
Jorstad, Erling
            1993                Popular Religion in America: The Evangelical Voice.
                                    Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Lincoln, C. Eric
            1990                The Black Church in the African-American Experience. N. Carolina: Duke Univ. Press.
McCarthy, Karen
            1991                Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn.  Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.
Misztal and Anson Shupe
            1992                Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspective: Revival of Religious Fundamentalism in East and West. Wesport, Ct: Praeger.
Nygren J. aand Miriam D. Ukeritis
            1993                The Future of Religious Orders in the United States: Tranformation and Commitment. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Prebish, Charles
            1993                Religion and Sport: The Meeting of Sacred and Profane. Wesport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Rambo, Lewis R.
            1993                Understanding Religious Conversion. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Roof, Wade Clark
            1994                A Generation of Seekers: The Spiritual Journey of the Baby Boom Generation.
Roof, Wade Clark and W. McKinney
            1987                American Mainline Religion. New Jersey: Rutgers Univ. Press.
Sherrill, Rowland A.
            1990                Religion and the Life of the Nation: American Recoveries. Illinois: The Univ. of Illinois Press.
Quinonez, Lora Ann and Mary Daniel Turner
            1992                The Transformation of American Catholic Sisters. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Wagner, Melinda Bollar
            1990                God's Schools: Choice, and Compromise in American Society.  New Jersey: Rutgers Univ. Press.
Wangerin, Ruth
            1993                The Children of God: A Make-Believe Revolution. Wesport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.
Watt, David Harrington
            1991                A Transforming Faith: Explorations of Twentieth Century American Evangelism. New Brunswick: Rutgers Univ. Press.
Wilcox, Clyde
            1992                God's Warriors: The Christian Right in Twenthieth Century America. Baltimore: John Hopkins Univ. Press.
Wuthnow. Robert
            1988                The Restructuring of American Religion. New Jersey: Princeton Univ. Press.
Some important and useful websites on Religion in America


Religious pluralism and Tolerance
Comparative Religions
American Sociological Association Section on Soc. of Religion
Religion Sites
African American Religion in the 19th Century
Religion and the Founding of the American Republic
Institute for the Study of American Religion
American Religion Data Archive
Native American Religions
The American Religious Experience
American Civil Religion and the First Amendment