Study Guide for Final Exam

The Final Exam will be in the exact same format as the midterm. Specifically, there will be

Key Terms

“Mrs. X”

Green v. Connally

Bob Jones University

spiritual-industrial complex

J. Edgar Hoover’s article “Soviet Rule or Christian Renewal”

“the white moderate”

Lightfoot Solomon Michaux.

positive peace vs. negative peace


Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion

Jerry Falwell


Essay Questions (choose one)

  1. Robert Bellah’s concept of American Civil Religion has framed much of our explorations of the entanglements of religion and politics. From John Winthrop’s “Model of Christian Charity” to Nancy Pelosi’s statement on the impeachment of Donald Trump to the inauguration of the U.S. Space Force, we have analyzed the ways in which politicians and other American political actors have used religious and civil religious discourses for various political ends. Though Bellah’s 1967 essay sketched the outlines of American Civil Religion, we have seen that American Civil Religion has taken somewhat different forms in different contexts. For this essay assignment, please compare and contrast the uses and content of American Civil Religion as expressed by two or three historical actors. (Please ensure at least two we read since Spring Break.) You may, for example, compare and contrast the forms of American Civil Religion expressed by J. Edgar Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower. (Pro tip: You have likely noticed that, in the final weeks of the course, we stopped talking about American Civil Religion quite so much. In large part, the disappearance of ACR from our discussions reflects the fact that most constituencies of the “religious right” embrace a form of religion in their politics that is very much unlike the traditional brands of American Civil Religion, primarily in that many advocate that politics should be based explicitly on Christian ideals. The fact that the religious right largely eschews many tenets of traditional American Civil Religion makes it difficult to answer this question if you choose one of the actors from the religious right analyze – unless, of course, you argue that their vision of religion and politics is profoundly different than those rooted in traditional American Civil Religion.)

  2. Under J. Edgar Hoover, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s COINTELPRO surveilled and attempted to smear Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. At the same time, it sought to elevate the stature of another prominent African American clergyman, Elder Solomon Lightfoot Michaux. In approximately five paragraphs, please explain why the FBI pursued such divergent engagements with King and Michaux. What was it about the politics of King and Michaux – and what was it about their religion that might have engendered such different responses from federal law enforcement? The strongest answers will highlight the connections between their religion and and their politics and also explain why one was so threatening to Hoover and the FBI.