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The Inauguration Ceremony as Public Theology: The cases of George H. W. Bush and Barack Obama
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1889-2823
2012 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The religio-political setting of the Inauguration Ceremonies—with songs, pastors, presidential addresses, prayers, blessings etc.—is clearly revealing an American sentiment, which includes an interconnection between patriotism and Christianity. “God bless America” and “One nation under God” are common themes as well as other references related to Religious and often specifically Christian theological viewpoints. It is argued that the ceremonies themselves not only reveal parts of a general civil religion,  but in fact they become proclamations of a specific American public theology. They form a sort of rites-de-passage of the nation, bringing forward a new President; from now on acting not only as a political leader but also as a sort of a pastor (priest and/or prophet) of the nation, using the White House as an impressive pulpit. The type of religious dimension presented in the presidential inauguration ceremonies of Bush Sr. and Obama has often been described as civil religion, but the outspoken theological content is not fully compatible with French sociological theory or German sociological theory, which are often used to describe civil religion. Therefore, a more accurate description of the modern American version is “public theology.”

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012. , 16 p.
Linköping Studies in Identity and Pluralism, ISSN 1651-8993 (print), 1651-9000 (online) ; 13
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-81725OAI: diva2:555800
Available from: 2012-09-21 Created: 2012-09-21 Last updated: 2015-03-11Bibliographically approved

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Lejon, Kjell O.
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