- Introduction: Religious Pluralism as the Essential Foundation of America’s Quest for Unity and Order
The Oxford Handbook of Church and State in the United States presents an extensive, multidimensional overview of the church and state in the United States. Study of church and state in the United States is incredibly complex. Scholars working in this area have backgrounds in law, religious studies, history, theology, and politics, among other fields. Historically, they have focused on particular angles or dimensions of the church𠇓state relationship, because the field is so vast. The results have mostly been monographs that focus only on narrow cross-sections of the field, and the few works that do aim to give larger perspectives are reference works of factual compendia, which offer little or no analysis. In this book, twenty-one articles offer a scholarly look at the intricacies and past and current debates that frame the American system of church and state within five main areas: history, law, theology/philosophy, politics, and sociology. These articles provide factual accounts, but also address issues, problems, debates, controversies, and, where appropriate, suggest resolutions. They also offer analysis of the range of interpretations of the subject offered by various American scholars.