Winchester Academy presents Jews and Muslims in Christian America.
Charles L. Cohen, PhD, is the E. Gordon Fox Professor of American Institutions, Emeritus at UW-Madison. He has taught and written about colonial British North America, American religious history, and the braided histories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The adjudication of religious life in the United States plays out on a field generated by, on the one hand, our Constitution and the political institutions that flow from it, and, on the other, by a religious culture that hugely values religious freedom but that has also been highly inflected by various claims that the United States is a Christian nation. These conditions create a central dilemma: Are there circumstances in which religious beliefs and the practices that issue from them make a group seem incapable of being good citizens, even though the nation’s basic values would seem to preclude religious identity as a condition of citizenship? The United States has been defined in various ways as a “Christian nation”; if so, how do Jews and Muslims fit into American society? American political and culture systems can generally handle most differences, but a few issues are explosive, particularly those that question whether a group’s religion precludes its becoming loyal to the United States, i.e., becoming American citizens.
This program is sponsored by Sue Martin.
The Academy offers, on average, twenty-five programs annually. There is no membership required for attendance at programs. All are FREE of charge and open to the general public. Programs are usually held at the Waupaca Area Public Library on Monday evenings at 6:30. Other venues and days of the week are occasionally used for special seminars and musical programs (e.g., churches, or other sites that can accommodate larger crowds). Some programs might include controversial subject matter, but the Academy takes no position and seeks to provide balanced and reliable information.