Instructor: Jim Wallis
In an increasingly pluralistic and interfaith society, is it a good idea to bring faith into public life? Which values and whose faith should be applied to politics? A debate over the role of religion is good and healthy, as is discussing the relationship between personal and social responsibility. People of faith who believe in social justice can be found in public life across the political spectrum. They apply their faith in different ways; vote Republican, Democrat, or Independent; and have varying views of government. How do we apply core moral values to politics, go deeper than merely Left and Right, and pursue public policies that put the common good at the heart of the discussion?
The coverage of religion in the media has become an issue all by itself. Media caricatures of what it means to be “evangelical” or “Catholic” or even “religious” still abound and confuse public discourse. The media also loves conflict, more than cooperation, and especially loves religious conflict. Is media coverage of religion getting better or worse? How is it changing? What might be “the religious issues” in the next election year, and what ought they to be? And how does the media coverage of religion and various faith communities impact politics? How is religion being politicized on the one hand, and how should it impact politics on the other? What are the problems that both the Right and the Left have with religion and religion in politics?
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