Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Dr. Stephen Cobb


The sociological concept of "civil religion" has been widely studied and debated within social science circles since the release of Robert Bellah's article, "Civil Religion in America" in 1967. However, this idea of nations using religious figures, rhetoric, and symbols as cohesive and mobilizing forces is certainly not new. Throughout the history of the United States --from the American Revolution to the current war in Iraq--civil religion has been one of the primary forces drawing people together for a common cause. Concurrent to the nation-state's utilization of religious symbols, the church employs the use of national symbols. This dialectic relationship between civil religion and the patriotic church is amplified during times of conflict. Examining these powerful relationships during such a time through sociological, historical, and theological frameworks is valuable for anyone seeking to wield the power of the church/state fusion wisely.