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Religious Persecution and Political Order in the United States


Part of Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics

  • Date Published: November 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107539891


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About the Authors
  • Religious freedom is a foundational value of the United States, but not all religious minorities have been shielded from religious persecution in America. This book examines why the state has acted to protect some religious minorities while allowing others to be persecuted or actively persecuting them. It details the persecution experiences of Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholics, Jews, the Nation of Islam, and orthodox Muslims in America, developing a theory for why the state intervened to protect some but not others. The book argues that the state will persecute religious minorities if state actors consider them a threat to political order, but they will protect religious minorities if they believe persecution is a greater threat to political order. From the beginning of the republic to after 9/11, religious freedom in America has depended on the state's perception of political threats.

    • The first study to compare the persecution experiences of many religious groups, explaining the similarities and differences between those experiences
    • Goes beyond celebratory accounts of religious freedom in America
    • Interdisciplinary and jargon-free, this book will appeal also to a non-specialist audience
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107539891
    • length: 283 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 154 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Religious freedom and persecution in America: a theoretical overview
    3. Joseph Smith and the rise of Mormonism
    4. The federal response to Mormonism
    5. Jehovah's Witnesses and the flag salute, 1870–1940
    6. Mass violence against Jehovah's Witnesses, 1940–2
    7. The Catholic experience in America
    8. The Jewish experience in America
    9. The Islamic experience in America
    10. Conclusion
    11. Sources and bibliography.

  • Author

    David T. Smith, University of Sydney
    David T. Smith is jointly appointed in the United States Studies Centre and the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney. He earned a PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan and was a University Medallist and First Class Honours graduate from the University of Sydney. His research focuses on political relations between governments and religious communities in the US and other countries with a focus on Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses.

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