Political Science

Department Spotlight

Professor's Book Addresses Role of Religion in Public Life

Ongoing debate in political and public spheres about the Bush Administration's efforts to provide government funding of faith-based initiatives points up many Americans' confusion about the proper role of religion in public life. In her book Law, Religion and Public Policy: A Commentary on First Amendment Jurisprudence (2002, Lexington Books), Professor of Politics & History Julia Stronks clarifies this complex issue and provides readers with a framework for engaging in constructive dialogue that can lead to the resolution of "culture wars."

"It is clear to me that the public's unrest over religion's role in the public sphere is more than a simple disagreement about the separation of church and state," says Stronks, a former attorney who is currently writing a new book, So You Want to Be a Christian Lawyer? "The debate stems from two very different understandings of what religion is and what the role of government ought to be."

In her book, Stronks examines whether religion is a belief in God or a worldview and explores whether government should promote a specific worldview or seek to give equal justice to all perspectives held by the public.

Stronks says Law, Religion and Public Policy serves as a supplement to lay readers' knowledge of First Amendment jurisprudence, a textbook for college courses, and a guide for policymakers and public-school and government officials.

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