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Martha G. Newman, Chair BUR 529, Mailcode A3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-7737

Spring 2006

R S 346 • 2-Relign in Amer Pol Thought-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
43512 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
MEZ 2.124

Course Description

Contains a substantial writing component and fulfills part of the basic education requirement in writing. Religion in politics is an emotional issue for believers and nonbelievers alike. The purpose of this course is to help you think beyond the slogans. We will be studying a large number of sources, mostly primary, of varying length and difficulty, from the colonial period right up to the present. Some sources discuss issues like whether faith should be enforced and whether revolution is consistent with the law of God. Others discuss issues like the meaning of the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Still others discuss particular historical controversies, such as the Civil War, war in general, and racial justice. A final set of readings concerns the quarrel between secularism and its critics. Typically, we will read the religious arguments on each side of the issues we discuss. Every course is taught from a point of view. That doesn't mean it can't be objective. Students in all my classes are welcome to express any opinion for which they can give reasons, and my aim is to teach you enough so that if my own point of view is distorted in any important respect, you will be equipped to detect the distortion and challenge it. Just be prepared to be challenged in return.

Grading Policy

Four 5-6 page take-home essay examinations and sixteen short-answer-format quizzes will be administered. I may substitute a kind of writing exercise called an analytical outline for several of the essays. Equal weight will be given to the curved quiz average and each of the four take-home exams. Also, excessive absences hurt grades; good class participation helps in borderline cases; and I do report scholastic dishonesty.


The reading will be in a packet available at Abel's on Guadalupe Street. To pick up your packet, you will need either a fee receipt or a note from Dr. Budziszewski proving enrollment in the course. Using a fee receipt is better, because you won't have to wait until the first day of class to purchase your packet.


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