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Godly Republic

Godly Republic: A Centrist Blueprint for America’s Faith-Based Future: A Former White House Official Explodes Ten Polarizing Myths about Religion and Government in America Today

John J. DiIulio
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Pages: 329
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  • Book Info
    Godly Republic
    Book Description:

    "Do you know if you are going to heaven?" Shortly after being appointed the first Director of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives-the "faith czar"-John J. DiIulio Jr. was asked this question. Suddenly DiIulio, a Catholic Democrat who pioneered programs for inner-city children, was acutely aware that he was no longer a private citizen who might have humored the television evangelist standing before him. Now he was, as he recalls in his introduction-"responsible for assisting the president in faithfully upholding the Constitution . . . and faithfully acting in the public interest without regard to religious identities." Using his brief tenure in the George W. Bush administration as a springboard, this lively, informative, and entertaining book leaps into the ongoing debate over whether as a nation America is Christian or secular and to what degree church-state separation is compelled by the Constitution. Avoiding political pieties, DiIulio makes an impassioned case for a middle way. Written by a leading political scholar,Godly Republicoffers a fast-paced, faith-inspired, and fact-based approach to enhancing America's civic future for one and all.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93451-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-23)

    It was not a question that I would have expected to be asked at a White House reception while standing just a few paces away from the president of the United States. My inquisitor, a television evangelist, was at the White House for a ceremonial meeting with religious clergy. I was there as an Assistant to the President and first director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

    I knew what he wanted to hear. Had he asked me as one private citizen to another, I might have humored him. I started to do just that. But...

  5. ONE The Founders’ Faithful Consensus
    (pp. 24-54)

    In 1954, the U.S. Congress voted to insert the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. On June 6, 2002, the San Francisco–based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, inNewdow v. U.S. Congress, ruled that the Constitution requires that those words be stricken from the Pledge. “In the context of the Pledge,” the opinion asserted, “the statement that the United States is a nation ‘under God’ is an endorsement of religion. It is a profession of a religious belief, namely, in monotheism.” “The Pledge, as currently codified,” the federal judges insisted, “is an impermissible government...

  6. TWO The Court’s Neutrality Doctrine
    (pp. 55-81)

    On January 8, 2006, some of the nation’s best-known conservative religious leaders—Dr. James Dobson and the Reverend Jerry Falwell, to name just two—joined top government officials including Pennsylvania’s junior U.S. senator, Rick Santorum, for an open-to-the-press rally inside Greater Exodus Baptist Church in north Philadelphia. The event was billed as “Justice Sunday, III.” The church’s pastor, Reverend Dr. Herbert H. Lusk III, commenced with preaching that inspired the speakers and fired up the crowd. Sermon by sermon, the speakers urged the Senate to confirm Samuel Alito as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. The time had come, they repeated...

  7. THREE The People’s Charitable Choice
    (pp. 82-115)

    A prominent national politician has made numerous statements about religion and government. On January 19, 2005, this politician preached to inner-city clergy in Boston:

    But I ask you, who is more likely to go out onto a street to save some poor, at-risk child than someone from the community, someone who believes in the divinity of every person, who sees God at work in the lives of even the most hopeless and left-behind of our children? And that’s why we need to not have a false division or debate about the role of faith-based institutions, we need to just do...

  8. FOUR The President’s Bipartisan Prayer
    (pp. 116-152)

    On April 27, 2006, my first successor as faith czar, Jim Towey, stood with me at the pulpit of a packed church in Philadelphia. It was to be his last public appearance as a White House official. We were both there to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Amachi, a national program for mentoring children with incarcerated parents. Amachi is an Ibo-Nigerian word meaning “Who knows but what God has brought us through this child.” I had helped to hatch the program in the late 1990s. I was there to receive an award from the program’s two main sponsoring organizations, Big...

  9. FIVE The Nation’s Spiritual Capital
    (pp. 153-190)

    In the mid-1990s, Harvard University social scientist Robert D. Putnam alerted his academic colleagues to a troubling civic trend. Putnam had amassed evidence suggesting that fewer and fewer Americans were joining clubs, associations, churches, and other groups that promote civic trust and cooperation, or what many academics, following the sociologist James Coleman, called “social capital.” As a metaphor for the broader decline of civic participation that concerned him, Putnam highlighted the fact that, between 1980 and 1994, league bowling had dropped by 40 percent. Americans, once a nation of joiners, were now “bowling alone.”¹

    When Putnam speaks social scientists listen....

  10. SIX The Republic’s Faith-Based Future
    (pp. 191-222)

    Charles W. Colson is not the first name that most Americans associate with helping vulnerable citizens or advocating just treatment for convicted criminals. Colson is remembered instead as the crew cut with hornrimmed glasses who was President Richard M. Nixon’s political hatchet man. Trained as a lawyer, Colson went to federal prison after being convicted for crimes associated with the Watergate scandal.

    That was over a quarter-century ago. Colson left prison a changed man. Even before his stint behind bars, he had become a born-again Christian. He left prison promising the men with whom he had served that he would...

  11. SEVEN The Faith-Based Future’s Blessings
    (pp. 223-252)

    In the preceding chapter I described three principles that ought to guide our journey into the republic’s faith-based future: take prisoners, do unto others, and think Catholic. It is more than coincidence that religious concepts are embedded in each of these principles. To summarize:

    Take prisoners: Reflect honor and respect for other people with whom you may disagree fundamentally. Neither seek nor exploit any power advantages that may enable you to misrepresent them, to treat them less than fairly, or to have others misrepresent or mistreat them in accordance with your least generous impulses. Evangelical Christians and secular liberals have...

  12. Postscript
    (pp. 253-266)

    As is noted in the introduction, in June 1998Newsweekmagazine did a cover story focused on a black Pentecostal minister in Boston with ties to Philadelphia’s Pastor Benjamin “Pops” Smith. In preparing for that story, the magazine’s editors had consulted rather extensively with me. In the several years just before and ever since, my focus, as in this book, has been on the godly republic’s founding, fortunes, and future, most especially the federal government’s posture vis-à-vis church-state issues and community-serving faith-based organizations.

    In March 2007, as this book was heading into editing,Newsweekkindly invited me in again. This...

  13. APPENDIX. The Williamsburg Charter
    (pp. 267-282)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 283-300)
  15. Index
    (pp. 301-309)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 310-310)