HDS 2482

The Role of Religion in the Growth of American Democracy

Jocelyne Cesari


Does religious toleration increase with the impact of democracy? This formidable question is examined historically and in contemporary terms through the development of American democracy. It remains as relevant as it was at the time of Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail." As democracy has spread in the late 20th century, has religious toleration within The United States increased as well? What is the explanation for the growth of toleration? Is there slippage? Can institutionalized intolerance such as that in the Nazi interval return? These questions will be addressed through an examination of the role of religion at the different stages of American political development from Ante Bellum to the establishment of the secular principle of toleration. The course will identify major variations in the interplay between democracy and toleration and discuss its implications for American religious and cultural diversity.

Enrollment Limited: No
Open to BTI Students: Yes


0.50 credits
Spring 2013
Fri 12pm-2pm
Divinity Hall Room 106

Relationship to Program Requirements

Program Requirement Area / Category / Art / Designation
MTS Area(s) of Focus
  • Religions of the Americas
  • Religion, Ethics, and Politics
MDiv Distribution Category/ies None
MDiv Art(s) of Ministry None
Language Course Designation(s) None