‘Divine Ambition: Tracing the Power of America Civil Religion through Presidential Campaign Rhetoric’ – CRPL Seminar, March’19

On the 28th March 2019, Kristi Boone will present their paper on ‘Divine Ambition – Tracing the Power of America Civil Religion through Presidential Campaign Rhetoric’ for the Centre of Religion and Public at the University of Leeds. Kristi Boone is a PhD student in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science at the University of Leeds. 

Abstract

If the United States is a nation predicated on the idea of religious freedom, how can it also foster a political climate which utilisesconsistent religious rhetoric as a benchmark for selection of a president? My project analysesthe language used in campaign speeches given by leading United States presidential candidates in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 election cycles to locate the reasons for this seeming contradiction and how it reflects the current intersection between religion and politics in the United States.

For this seminar I will provide a case study of the 2008 election cycle to illustrate the continued relevance of religious language in campaign speech in the United States and how that language is utilised by candidates on both the liberal and conservative sides of political discourse—perhaps to differing ends, but using the same assumptions of the faith of the audience and often the same canonical narratives. By examining the current use of these words on the most prominent of political stages, I hope to illustrate the continued evolution of American civil religion beyond Bellah and outline civil religion as it exists in the United States today.

This event will take place in Botany House (Room 1.03) between 11.30am-1pm on the 28th March at the University of Leeds. Please contact CRPL Intern – Hollie Gowan – at jh09hgg@leeds.ac.uk  if you have any questions.

Image Credit: Darron Birgenheier @Flickr

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