Religion and Culture Web Forum

God in the 2015-2016 Presidential Debates: Using American Civil Religion and Public Religion to Win Party Delegates 

by Michele Ferris

This month the Religion and Culture Web Forum welcomes Divinity School PhD student Michele Ferris.  Her piece, "God in the 2015-2016 Presidential Debates: Using American Civil Religion and Public Religion to Win Party Delegates," considers candidates' use of religious language in the current American presidential debates.  Through close readings and key-word analysis of the debates, Ferris asks whether such language should be understood "in the context of civil religion, public religion, a personal disclosure made by a religious person, or merely a colloquialism."  In doing so, she addresses "a lacuna in sociological scholarship regarding the intersection of personal religion and formal politics." 

Click here for access to the paper.

Michele Ferris is a PhD student at the University of Chicago Divinity School studying Religions in America.  She is interested in how religion, race, and ethnicity shaped the urban landscape on the American frontier.  Her most recent work examines German Christians and Jews in antebellum Cincinnati.

*image via USA Today

About the Web Forum

The Martin Marty Center's Religion and Culture Web Forum is an online forum for thought-provoking discussion on the relationship of scholarship in religion to culture and public life. Each month the Marty Center, the research arm of the University of Chicago Divinity School, invites a scholar of religion to comment on his or her own research in a way that "opens out" to themes, problems, and events in world cultures and contemporary life. Scholars from diverse fields of study are invited to offer responses to these commentaries.

More RCWF
  • View archived content (in the navigation to the left)
  • Subscribe to be notified of new content

Please direct questions and comments to the Web Forum Editor at       .

The Religion and Culture Web Forum is edited by Emily D. Crews, Divinity School PhD student in the History of Religions.