Spiritual Governance: The New Establishment


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project makes the argument that a new phenomenology of religion is emerging in US legal and governmental contexts. Focusing both on private and public agents in a range of social settings, it shows how American law and legal institutions—federal, state, and local—are increasingly recognizing Americans, indeed all persons, as essentially religious—or “spiritual.” In myriad standards, rules, regulations, and proceedings, religion is being defined, standardized, homogenized, and made acceptable for government support. Being religious is now understood to be part of being human and that recognition increasingly authorizes responses across the domains of legal regulation. The citizen is understood to be a person in need of spiritual care.