References and Further Reading 1.
Before the whistle blows for the first time this year and the football goes tumbling through the air, there will be an act dripping with political significance. It will come even before the singer takes the field and thousands stand with hand over heart, keeping one eye on the flag and one eye on the field, scanning for players who might be kneeling or raising their fist.
And it will probably come during and after, too. That act is prayer. The participants may not think of it as political; they may be praying only for safety or inner peace or to draw near to their God.
But when prayer and football intersect in highly visible ways, those moments—and the conversation around those moments—go beyond personal devotion, revealing and reflecting ongoing battles over the direction of American society and the meaning of American life.
From pre-game invocations to post-game huddles, from touchdown celebrations to protests during the national anthem, prayer pervades football. We can begin where American football began in the late nineteenth century: At the time, many were suspicious of the new game for its brutality and its tendency to divert attention from education.
But some white, Religion on politics, Anglo-Saxon Protestants saw the game as a godsend. For them, football provided a way to develop the physical and moral characteristics needed to maintain their authority at home in an age of immigration and extend it abroad in an age of American imperialism.
By practicing and publicizing football-related prayer, they provided the game with moral gravitas fit for future leaders.
He concluded his essay with a glimpse of the victorious Princeton locker room. It depicted Earl Dodge, a football captain from the class ofwearing his football uniform with an academic gown over his shoulder and books in his left hand—an elite white Protestant male with the physical, moral, and intellectual qualities to conquer and lead subject people at home and abroad.
The statue did not stand for long. Disillusioned by World War I and enthralled with consumer culture, in the s students at prestigious northeastern schools adopted more cynical attitudes towards faith.
It was repeatedly defaced by drunk Princeton students, until finally at the end of the decade it was sent to storage for safekeeping. But just as the public blending of football and prayer was cast off in the Ivy League, it was championed by less prestigious colleges. These underdogs saw prayer as a way to cultivate community pride and stake a claim for importance in mainstream American life.
The team began receiving widespread attention for its habit of pre-game prayer in Two years later the attention intensified when the Praying Colonels went north and shocked heavily favored Harvard,marking the arrival of white southern football on the national stage.
Along with the white South, prayer in the s also became associated with Notre Dame, the most dominant team of the decade. It was a way to assert Catholic confidence in the midst of Protestant hostility, a means of claiming a place in a country that had long been dominated by Protestant leadership.
Yet, whiteness remained constant. Notre Dame, like its southern counterparts, had no black players or students at the time. After World War II, prayer in football went national, stretching from coast to coast.
Faith in God was promoted as an antidote to atheistic communism, while faith in football was promoted as a way to develop men who could lead America in its worldwide battle for freedom. Colleges and high schools increasingly opened their games with prayers recited over the public address system—the University of Oklahoma, for example, began the practice in And in the professional ranks, grown men began to pray in more public ways as well.
The National Football League NFLfounded inhad lacked the middle- and upper-class respectability of college football for its first three decades. In the s, however, as professional football moved closer to the American mainstream, praying pros gained greater attention and political significance. Dan Towler, a black running back for the Los Angeles Rams, earned publicity in for leading his team in a pre-game prayer.
He later re-enacted the scene in a Hollywood football movie. That Towler received widespread attention for leading white teammates in prayer reflected a Cold War-era desire to promote racial harmony, at least in theory.
White Cleveland Browns quarterback Otto Graham echoed this desire when he spoke about the importance of prayer on his integrated team. But by the s, the supposed consensus of the s disintegrated when confronted with the hard reality of American inequality and division.
Gestures and symbols of inclusion, it turned out, did not change the situation on the ground. Still, prayer in football did not go away. Instead, it became ever more conspicuous as a new group emerged as the standard-bearer of gridiron piety:Religion is important for American politics because religion is important for Americans.
1 Yet, there are factors in American political life that amplify the role of religion in a way that is not. The appropriate role for religion and religious language in political debate is often the source of confusion and conflict across the political spectrum, particularly as our . Politics and Religion is an international journal publishing high quality peer-reviewed research on the multifaceted relationship between religion and politics around the world.
Religion and Politics The relation between religion and politics continues to be an important theme in political philosophy, despite the emergent consensus (both among political theorists and in practical political contexts, such as the United Nations) on the right to freedom of conscience and on the need for some sort of separation between church and state. Nov 07, · Religion and U.S. Politics. How religious groups voted in the midterm elections. White evangelical or born-again Christians backed GOP candidates for the House at about the same rate in Religious “nones” and Jewish voters again largely backed Democratic candidates. Religion November 6, Aug 02, · Religion and U.S. Politics. Follow the RSS feed for this page: Religion August 2, 5 facts about the death penalty. Pope Francis has changed the Catholic Church’s teaching to fully oppose the death penalty. Read key facts about the death penalty in the U.S. and abroad.
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The Role of Religion in Politics The August AP-NORC Poll asked 1, adults about their attitudes toward religion and its impact on politics and policy in the United States.
Aug 02, · Religion and U.S. Politics. Follow the RSS feed for this page: Religion August 2, 5 facts about the death penalty. Pope Francis has changed the Catholic Church’s teaching to fully oppose the death penalty. Read key facts about the death penalty in the U.S. and abroad. Religion & Politics is an online news journal, dedicated to the two topics thought unfit for polite company.
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