Frontiers

Godly Republic

John DiIulio's new book argues for the middle ground between secular and religious extremes in America's public life.
January 2008
Even before his brief stint as “faith czar” in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, John DiIulio, C’80, G’80, was a believer in the power of religion-government partnerships to help solve the nation’s social problems.  He still is, although as a political scientist, his “faith” is data-based.  His new book, Godly Republic: A Centrist Blueprint for America’s Faith-Based Future, argues for the middle ground between those who seek to cast out religion, like a demon, from public life and those intent on baptizing America as a Christian nation. 

DiIulio, the Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion and Civil Society, observes that “most citizens in both parties, and most top leaders, agree that, so long as there is no proselytizing or such, government can and should partner with urban community-serving religious organizations and grassroots groups to serve needy children, youth, and families.”  He hopes the book will help pull the church-state debate back to the political center “on behalf of the poor.”  He writes, “I even hold out hope for mutual civic forbearance so deep that it will permit joint left-right, secular-sectarian advocacy and action.”  Given the deeply held convictions animating the culture wars, it seems an unlikely hope.  But, DiIulio adds, “I believe in miracles.”