1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Politics and Religion in Contemporary America

Edited By Jeffrey Haynes Copyright 2025
    528 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Handbook of Politics and Religion in Contemporary America is a comprehensive reference source to this significant, controversial and consistent topic in America’s politics. It examines the copious research conducted to date, evaluates what we know, identifies what is less clear because of differing research findings, and pursues important but under-researched questions.

    Comprising 34 chapters by a team of international contributors, the handbook is divided into four sections: History and Context; Theoretical Debates and Methodological Perspectives; Actors, Policies and Institutions; and Contemporary Debates and Controversies. The handbook addresses three key questions: 1) How is religion politically important in the USA?; 2) Why does religion retain political and social prominence in the USA?; and 3) Is the USA secularising? If so, what does it mean for the relationship between religion and politics? Chapters explore central issues, debates and problems within politics and religion in the USA, including: citizenship, secularism, the law, religious diversity, atheism, political economy, religious minorities, discrimination, the US presidency, nationalism, public opinion, gender and sexuality, foreign policy, Congress, religious freedom, party politics, human rights, public institutions, civil society, populism, feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, political violence, hate-speech, inequality, and immigration.

    This handbook will be essential reading for students and researchers of politics and religious studies. Professionals (policy-oriented, government, corporations) will also find the handbook useful, especially for research purposes.

    Introduction: Religion and politics in the contemporary USA. Culture wars and the Christian Right

    Jeffrey Haynes


    Section 1: History and Context


    1. Religion and the founding of America

    Ted Ritter


    2. Culture, Religion, and American Political Life

    Elizabeth Gish, Katya Lukianova and John Dedrick


    3. Religion, church and state in America

    Scott Culpepper


    Section 2: Theoretical Debates and Methodological Perspectives


    4. Why religion and politics divide America

    Bud Heckman


    5. Religion and citizenship

    Lan Chu and Anthony Kammas


    6. Secularism and the Post-Secular in American Political Thought

    Anders Berg-Sorensen


    7. Religion and the Law

    Adelaide Madera


    8. Non-Religion and Religious Diversity

    Daniel Gordon


    9. Politics of Atheism

    Stuart McAnulla

    10. Market and Marketisation of Religion and Politics

    Anthony Hatcher


    11. Religion and Political Economy

    Andrew Walsh


    12. Liminality, decolonization, and Indian American Christianity

    Binu Varghese


    Section 3: Actors, Policies and Institutions


    13. Religion and the U.S. presidency

    Jason Berggren


    14. Religion and Nationalism

    Joseph Williams


    15. Religion and Public Opinion

    J. Matthew Wilson


    16. Religion and Conservative Politics

    Levi Allen


    17. Awareness of and Support for the Religious Left in the United States: Another reflection of Political Polarization?

    Dunja Arandjelovic and Laura R. Olson


    18. Religion, Gender and Sexuality

    Carole Barnsley


    19. Religion and Foreign Policy: From Bush to Biden

    Jeffrey Haynes


    20. Religion and Liberal Politics in the U.S. since 1980: Fields of Activism and Influence

    Rhys H. Williams


    Section 4: Contemporary Debates and Controversies


    21. Religion and Congress

    Ben Toll


    22. Religious Freedom in the United States

    Dennis Petri


    23. Religion and Party Politics: Evangelicals, Republican Party, and Christian Nationalism Robert Postic


    24. Religion and Human Rights: From Culture War Clashes to Common Ground on One of the Most Challenging Issues, Transgender Athletes

    Robin Fretwell Wilson, J. Stuart Adams, Kera Birkeland and Bryce Morris


    25. Religion and the Supreme Court

    Stephen K. Green


    26. Important Debates and Current Challenges in American Civil Religion Today

    Aaron Q. Weinstein


    27. Religion and American Conservative Populism

    Jim Guth


    28. Faith and Feminism and American Politics

    Jonathan Agensky and Miriam Anderson


    29. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Rights and Religion

    Carole Barnsley


    30. Political Violence and Religion

     Andrea Molle and Jeffrey Haynes


    31. Religion and Hate Speech

     Meagan Zabadal

    32. Christianity and Racial Resentment in the Contemporary United States

    Kendrick Roberson


    33. Religion and Immigration: The Viewpoints of Religious Elites, Clergy and the Mass Public

    Lyman Kellstedt and Brian Newman


    34. Islam and America

    Sajida Jalalzai



    Jeffrey Haynes is Emeritus Professor of Politics at London Metropolitan University, UK. His recent Routledge Handbooks include Religion and Political Parties (2019), Religion, Politics, and Ideology (2021), and Religion and Politics, 3rd ed. (2023). He has written extensively about religion and politics in the USA, including two research monographs: From Huntington to Trump: Thirty Years of the Clash of Civilizations (2019) and Trump and the Politics of Neo-Nationalism: The Christian Right and Secular Nationalism in America (2021). He has also published research articles on religion and politics in the USA in numerous peer-reviewed journals.