Trim: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-4972-0 • Hardback • December 2011 • $108.00 • (£83.00)
978-0-7391-8810-1 • Paperback • October 2013 • $48.99 • (£38.00)
978-0-7391-7283-4 • eBook • December 2011 • $46.50 • (£36.00)
Andrew M. Koch is professor of political philosophy at the Department of Government and Justice Studies at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.
Paul H. Gates, Jr. is professor of communication law in the Department of Communication at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.
Chapter 1: Medievalism in the American Context
Chapter 2: Science, Religion, and Education: The Legal and Cultural Conflicts over the Teaching of Evolution in the United States
Chapter 3: Flag Fetish: Creating a Secular Icon in a Modern Context
Chapter 4: Religion, Law, and Criminal Justice
Chapter 5: Christianity and Liberal Individualism: The Battle over Control of the Human Body
Chapter 6: Religion, Culture, and Democratic Values
About the Authors
This book examines the ways that religious beliefs affect the development of law and public policy in the US. Koch and Gates (both, Appalachian State Univ.) adopt the position that US public policy is developed through conflict between an in-group and an out-group. When the in-group is Christian, the public policies produced will have a strong Christian component. In chapter 1, the authors present their argument that there is a persistent element in US culture that can be considered medieval. Medieval culture is pre-modern and its ideology is based in religious truths and universality. The remainder of the book examines the history of public policies that are created by the influence of religion in the political sphere. Chapter 2 describes the contours of the debate over teaching evolution in public schools. Chapter 3 examines the development of the US flag as a quasi-religious icon. Religious influences on crime and punishment are the focus of chapter 4. Chapter 5 considers the impact of religious views on the functions of the human body. The final chapter emphasizes the authors' argument that their work is not anti-spiritual, but anti-dogmatic. US public policy should be grounded in modern concepts, not ancient writings. Summing Up: Recommended.
— Choice Reviews
Medieval America is a fascinating and insightful analysis of the intersection of religious thought and the law. Contrasting the worldview of religious doctrine with that of the Enlightenment tradition, Professors Koch and Gates astutely tease out the often subtle influence of religion on public policy and on the development of legal doctrine. From flag desecration statutes to controversies over evolution and sexuality, this work provides a thoughtful and highly accessible look at a vital topic.
— Matthew D. Bunker, University of Alabama
In Medieval America, Andrew Koch and Paul Gates explore the continuing tensions between religious and scientific worldviews in American politics. Their argument will intrigue and trouble all who would defend American democracy against its increasingly vocal “medieval” critics.
— Nancy Love, Appalachian State University