Journal Article

Dear President Bush: Assessing Religion and Politics during Your Administration for “Posteriority”*

N.J. Demerath

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 68, issue 1, pages 5-25
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2007 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socrel/68.1.5
Dear President Bush: Assessing Religion and Politics during Your Administration for “Posteriority”*

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This paper is an exercise in the applied sociology of religion. And yet it is not quite what the phrase implies. It does not offer advice to help religious organizations increase their members or finetune their services, nor is it quite in the spirit of Kemal Attaturk's reliance on Emile Durkheim's work in secularizing his nation and pushing through some of the most thorough and most enduring cultural changes of any country in the 20th century. In fact, the one similarity between Attaturk and the case at issue here is that both involve turkeys. With all due respect to our nation's leader, what follows includes an array of such jibes but there is no humor in its conclusions. As a hypothetical letter of response to a hypothetical request, it falls into the literary category of a conceit, and it illustrates how even sophomoric attempts at humor can be a palliative for despair. Apologies are certainly in order to those it may offend. The paper reviews both domestic and foreign religious issues implicated during President George W. Bush's administration. Domestically, these range across his public pronouncements on issues such as gay marriage, stem-cell research, and intelligent design, his faith-based initiatives, and the religious strategy behind his two Presidential campaigns. In foreign affairs, they include his wars on terrorism, Iraq, and Islam, as well as his policies concerning Israel.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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