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Memoria e Ricerca

Civil religion and political religion in Barack Obama: continuity, innovation, realism and rhetoric

di Gianluca Scroccu
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 48 (2015), p. 165

The article considers how Barack Obama has utilised civil religion in his political career since the election to the White House, with particular attention to his religious formation. Through exploration of Obama’s writings and speeches, the paper analyze how in the political debate, and especially in his reflections on the dilemmas and contradictions of international relations, Obama has used religion to assert and claim a midline approach of government. It focuses on the influence of his political theology by Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright and the black church, white liberal Protestantism, his mother Ann Dunham’s skepticism, the pragmatism and the Niebuhr’s work. One aim of this paper is to underline how the religious impulse, in the Obama’s political views, has become consistent with the ethics of a pluralistic democracy. But these innovative, inclusive and national vision did not obtain all of his objectives, especially in the second presidential term because of international instability and the weakening of its leadership. Keywords: civil religion, Barack Obama, United States, Pragmatism, pluralistic democracy, Reinhold Niebuhr