Our New Book on Civil Religion Has Arrived

Our New Book on Civil Religion Has Arrived

This post isn’t really about personal, but a little shameless self-promotion (of course what blog post isn’t at some level) so please forgive me at some level.

One of the great things about being a college professor is doing research. I have a job where I get to be intellectually engaged with topics that I think are the most important. In my case those topics are about politics, the American presidency, U.S. foreign policy, and our use of communication.

My colleague, Joseph Valenzano from the University of Dayton, and I have put together an edited collection on another topic that isn’t supposed to be discussed: religion, specifically civil religion. We call it The Rhetoric of American Civil Religion: Symbols, Sinners, and Saints.

The vast majority of Americans would probably argue that they like the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and other documents. Moreover, those people would probably revere or believe that historical figures like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Franklin Roosevelt, etc are pretty important in American history.

This reverence is, in many respects, the same process we have in our daily religious lives (e.g. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc). In our case, Americans revere people, places, things, documents, that are secular in nature. We are a religious nation, but united by the objects mentioned above, not necessarily what we consider to a belief in God per se.

Because we thought this was an important topic, it hasn’t been explored in our field in book form for a while, and because we just wanted to do something together we put together an edited collection of various authors who made arguments about where American civil religion was, where it is, and where it is going.

I think we have a wonderfully eclectic group of scholars and I hope that people will try to get their libraries to buy it, use it for future scholarship, and expand the conversation on this important subject. Here is a flyer for the book that people can use to get a 30% coupon (Edwards and Valenzo flyer (2) your library will probably like it–I don’t set the prices on the books…please forgive me and the publisher).

I Don’t Get Rich From Books

This isn’t the first book I have edited or written. I have two other books that I have written on American politics and language. I edited a book with my friend David Weiss on American Exceptionalism. And I wrote a book on President Clinton and his foreign policy.

I do it because it keeps me intellectually engaged and because I genuinely enjoy doing research, but unless you write a really successful textbook (rare) or are some superstar researcher (rarer) that gets picked up by the popular press the chances that you make any real money from your books is pretty rare.

In fact, I think I have made about $200 total from all of my book sales. The last time I got a check for my book royalties I think it was $18. I joked with Mrs. ROB that we could go to Burger King for dinner. Because of inflation I am not sure we could even afford it.

No matter what, as long as I am a college professor, I hope to continue to write books. I have trying to finish up a fourth book for a couple of years now and I hope I will do that soon. I would like to actually get an advanced book contract for that someday soon, but that is another project for another day.

If you do happen to buy/read The Rhetoric of American Civil Religion I would love to hear your feedback on it.

Thanks for stopping by and reading through a post that has nothing to do with personal finance.


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