Carolyn Marvin in special issue of the Journal of Communication and Religion

"A New Scholarly Dispensation for Civil Religion" by Professor Carolyn Marvin appears in a special issue of the Journal of Communication and Religion (March 2002) titled: Twenty-five Years After The Political Pulpit. Dr. Marvin explores what makes United States civil religion so compelling that citizen believers will offer their lives to it on well-defined ritual occasions. She proposes that U.S. patriotism is a full blown religion defined, like all religions, by a transcendent god principle with the authority to deal life and death to its own believers. The nation as the transcendent god principle that demands the sacrificial offering of believers' lives is the basis of patriotism. Patriotic rhetoric alone, without citizen obligation and commitment to the act of bodily sacrifice, would be indistinguishable from advertising. The article discusses the relationship of civil religion to antecedent religious traditions and, what seems at first glance to be an anomaly, why the sacred status of U.S. nationalism is regularly concealed or denied in official and unofficial rhetoric.