Talk:Civil religion

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Sociology (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Sociology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of sociology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Religion (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Religion, a project to improve Wikipedia's articles on Religion-related subjects. Please participate by editing the article, and help us assess and improve articles to good and 1.0 standards, or visit the wikiproject page for more details.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Christianity (Rated C-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Christianity, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Christianity on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is part of the WikiProject for Classical Greece and Rome, a group of contributors who write Wikipedia's Classics articles. If you would like to join the WikiProject or learn how to contribute, please see our project page. If you need assistance from a classicist, please see our talk page.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.

Origins of Terms[edit]

This section is incomplete, is anyone working on it? \ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:45, 18 September 2007 (UTC) "The aggressive civil religion of the United States of America is an occasional cause of political friction between the United States and its allies in Europe, where civil religion is relatively muted."

Can it really be said that "civil religion is relatively muted" in France? Michael Hardy 00:45 4 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I had ever understood that France was fairly thoroughly secularised, and has no major tradition of political God-talk like the kind that adorns the speeches of nigh every U. S. politician. I am generally aware that they take pride in their national monuments and achievements, but most of those strike me as fairly secular, and some of them celebrate the overthrow of Throne and Altar. If this ain't so, add it to the article; I would be interested in knowing more! -- IHCOYC 00:55 4 Jul 2003 (UTC)

But I meant they have a sort of quasi-religious reverence for great Frenchmen of the past. Michael Hardy 23:21 4 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Seems to me that this is more of a matter of the definition of "religion," then, rather than whether it's civil or not. I've no doubt that the French have a stock of improving legends about historical personages the same way that Americans have them about Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin. They too erect imposing public monuments and treat them with quasi-reverence, and have shrines to secular martyrs. But my impression is that the French seldom if ever invoke a Deity in connection with these shrines, the way Americans often do.
Expand the definition of religion wide enough, and you can argue that Communist May Day parades and personality cults of the dictators are religions. But this involves putting words in other people's mouths. American politicians can't hardly open their mouths without mentioning God; it seems reasonable to call this religious activity. Americans claim that their "institutions presuppose a Supreme Being," or some such. It seems hard to imagine the French making such a grand claim about their --- which is it, the fifth? --- republic. The French don't seem to feel the need for that hypothesis. -- IHCOYC 00:46 5 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I have created a page on Civic religions to cover dictorial ideologies which supplant established religions. You just reminded me to add personality cult to the page. Please use my page to write about such things, since this page seems to deal with more benign forms, such as patriotism and is not the same thing. Any questions or comments please direct to my talk page or that on the page on Civic religions. Thanks--naryathegreat 22:06, Jul 7, 2004 (UTC)

Another idea, merge this with Folk religion, it is really the same thing twice, but both have unique ideas and genuinely good content, i would not have thought of this. Also, tone down the anti-U.S. POV please (see WP:NPOV), that's borderline offensive rhetoric you got there.--naryathegreat 22:15, Jul 7, 2004 (UTC)

I don't think there's a great deal of POV in the article itself; I try to keep it down there. Somewhat more leeway is allowed on talk pages; they exist to thrash out that sort of thing in any case. I suspect it's more anti-French than anti-US POV in any case. Smerdis of Tlön 01:52, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Why isn´t there any references to the sociologist Robert N. Bellah in this article? Neither is there any reference to Jean-Jacques Rosseau, that in his "The Social Contract" (in 1792) used this expression on a phenomena that intigrates the members of society. An academic debate related to the term started out in 1967 when Robert N. Bellah´s essay "Civil Religion in America" was published. Bellah was the first to develop an sociological theory on Civil Religion. His definition goes "an institutionalized collection of sacred beliefs about the American nation". I feel the article misses a very important fact, when Rosseau, Bellah and others are excluded as references in the article, and I also think that a lot of the definition and language in the article owes an reference to Bellah.

PeterKristo 10:13, 25 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I have added references to Bellah and Rousseau, as well as to Martin E. Marty. I rather hesitated to add the reference to Marty and Bellah, because they do make the article even more US-centric, but then perhaps that's inevitable.
Is there anyone who still thinks this article has POV problems? Been this way since July, w/o anyone stepping up to the plate and changing what is supposed to be thought to be that way. I think the paragraphs on the USA are descriptive, not particularly judgmental, and accurate as they stand currently. Smerdis of Tlön 15:14, 25 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I added a reference focusing more on fascism and communism (Gentile) so that should satisfy someone about POV. FINginga (talk) 12:08, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

When did we start capitilizing the first letter of the word when ever we referenced God and why do we still do this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Chrisvrulez (talkcontribs) 20:49, 17 April 2012 (UTC)


I suspect this article ought to be merged with civic religion after some really really drastic revising of the latter article. See Talk:civic religion for some comments on how that article ought to be changed. Michael Hardy 19:25, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I think this is possible. Term 'civic religion' on Google nets 4,370 hits. Not much, but it does exist. Define: doesn't give any results though. 'civil religion' has 18,700 and no definitions neither. While civiC seems to cover more extreme versions, if I understand this correctly, both refer to a situation where certain (dominating in cases of civic) fractions in the goverment use certain aspects of certain religions for broadly understood propaganda reasons, yes? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus 10:38, 17 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Civil religion and "civic religion" seem to me to be talking about two different things. Civil religion, as I have always understood it, is an aspect of folk religion. It is practiced by political leaders or in public shrines, but is essentially sincere, meant to be consistent with a pre-existing religion, and relatively unplanned. What "civic religion" seems to be talking about is a deliberate extension of a cult of personality, devised by leaders to compete with an existing religion. I'm not all too sure that the two pages are really compatible. Google doesn't seem to have a trend towards using "civic religion" and "civil religion" as being distinct; the beginning hits hits instead speak of "a new civic religion in America," "baseball as civic religion," civic religion in renaissance Bologna, Howard Dean's civic religion, and like "civil religion" seem to refer chiefly to the USA. Nothing in the Google hits suggested to me that "civic religion" referred to a more oppressive, planned, or atheistic variety. If there's stuff worth saving at civic religion, it might be better merged with cult of personality than here. The cult of personality page wants expansion anyways; it refers almost exclusively to political leaders, and not to figures such as Sun Myung Moon. Smerdis of Tlön
They're definitely NOT compatible as civic religion is now written, but I was thinking of totally rewriting that one and making the whole cult-of-personality topic into essentially just one topic within "civic religion", referring only to the most extreme form. Michael Hardy 19:21, 17 Jul 2004 (UTC)
It reads just fine now. (Except, maybe, for the formatting. }:-) It does also help to integrate the French national traditions discussed above within the context of political ritual, but not necessarily claiming divine sanction. Smerdis of Tlön 20:57, 17 Jul 2004 (UTC)
No, Smerdis, it is bad. The tone makes Americans seem like primitive neanderthals, worshiping the local phallic-shaped rock. Sorry, but most Americans tend to get offtnded at that, myself included. In that context, reference should be made to the fact that the US was settled by people motivated primarily by religion. (See the Pilgrims, for one example.) Sorry if we're not as secular as Europeans may like, but we're coming from an entirely different background. -- Penta 22:38, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I thought we did worship a phallic shaped rock. When did this change? AAR, I have expanded that section a bit with a mention of religious settlers and freedom of religion leading to competition between denominations in the public sphere. I also changed "aggressive" to "assertive." If you still don't like it, be bold, step up to the plate and make changes you think will improve it. Smerdis of Tlön 23:30, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

"A god" instead of "God"[edit]

I reverted a recent edit that changed the line concerning the "invocation of a god" on public monuments , etc. The Ara Pacis, cited as an example of civil religion later in the text, is not dedicated to "God" as the capital G word is currently understood. The text should cover all of these bases. Smerdis of Tlön 02:20, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC) I expanded on how in the Pledge of Allegiance we say "under God" right before the end of it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Chrisvrulez (talkcontribs) 20:46, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Merge with political religion[edit]

I think the article on Political religion should be subsumed with this one. Everything I read on this shouts "Nationalism". [Promsan] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:28, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Well its not about nationalism, or plain nationalism. Its also about many other ideologies put into action, say Capitalism or Communism. FINginga (talk) 12:01, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Secular baptisms[edit]

In France, because of the country's traditions of civil religion, there are unusual ceremonies of secular baptisms, sometimes called republican baptisms. It could be maybe be mentioned in the article as a peculiar kind of child sponsorship. [1] ADM (talk) 04:56, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Affirmation vs. Swearing[edit]

saying "I do solemnly affirm..." does not imply mention of God would be expected. The option of affirming instead of swearing is made to accommodate religious groups that consider swearing wrong, such as Quakers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:11, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Classical antiquity[edit]

There are so many things wrong with the section on Classical antiquity (which I separated out from the History section) that I don't even know how to start discussing it. But since I tagged it for factual accuracy, I wanted to open the discussion here. First of all, there's no such thing as "Classical paganism" except from the later point of view of Christianity; Christian polemic lumped various religions practiced in ancient Greece and Rome together as "paganism," but the religious practices of classical Athens, for instance, are a world apart from the traditional Roman religion (sometimes called the "religion of Numa") that was "revived" and innovated upon by Augustus, giving rise to Imperial cult. There seems to be confusion in this section between "civil religion" and "state religion" or "public religion." Will try to help, but I'm not sure where to start. Cynwolfe (talk) 11:58, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

I agree on the paganism part. It´s good though you have´nt erased the whole page as some do... However I do not agree on the latter part on confusion of terms. The field is highly debated and confused in its self, so any nitpicking about the concepts would be, lets say, childish. More relevant would be mentioning the confusion WITH some academic references, which you did´nt mention. FINginga (talk) 11:52, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Original research[edit]

I do not see this article containing original research. Would someone be more precise about that? If no answer, at some point later I´ll check the article and erase the note. FINginga (talk) 12:15, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Please don't remove the tag. See, for instance, the substantial sections that have no footnotes at all. Of course, if you want to provide sources for these claims, that would be super. Otherwise, the tag should remain unless these sections are deleted. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:33, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
the issue of missing citations is entirely separate. Delete tag. Rjensen (talk) 12:03, 4 December 2012 (UTC)