Theological Perspectives for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness Public Intellectuals for the Twenty-First Century

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-11-07
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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Given the constant public attention to the current challenges facing the U.S. as a nation and a people, this book embraces and enacts the moral, social, and political responsibility of academics to serve as public intellectuals, i.e. to upbuild and enhance the society which we inherit, in which we live, and which we envision for the future. Mostly theologians and ethicists, the authors explore new meanings of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" in an attempt to reconceptualize the meaning of key virtues and values that defined the basic founding self-understanding of the American people.

Some of the essays address issues around globalization, racism, ethnoracism, immigration, poverty, militarism, gender, sexuality and connect these issues with their implications for the meaning of "life, liberty, and… happiness." Others focus on these values themselves and their implications for public life. The logic of these essays is inspired by some of mujerista theologian Ada María Isasi-Díaz's characteristic convictions: the crucial role of learning from the experiences of others, especially disempowered groups, involved in la lucha or the struggle for justice; the centrality of lo cotidiano or the everyday for innovative epistemologies and ethics, or ways of knowing and living; and, the testimony of her life to the significance of fuerzas para la lucha or God-given strength for the struggle.

Rather than wield religion as a weapon or a ruse in irrational appeals, the book attempts to reimagine a shared American mythos and ethos, by reminding us of our shared stake in creating an America committed to the life of all peoples and species, to the full developments of our capabilities as an exercise of liberty, and to the happiness that true solidarity can bring as we are and become a people for the common good.

Author Biography

Rosemary P. Carbine is Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Director of Fellowships at Whittier College.

Mary McClintock Fulkerson is a professor of theology at Duke University Divinity School.

Ada María Isasi-Díaz served as Professor of Ethics and Theology in the Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion at Drew University from 1991 to 2009.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Academics as Public Intellectuals; Ada María Isasi-Diaz, Mary McClintock-Fulkerson and Rosemary P. Carbine
1. The Indigenous Dream - A World Without an 'America'; Andrea Smith
2. Race, Religion and the Pursuit of Happiness; James H. Evans, Jr.
3. Pax Americana, Pax Humana; Sharon Welch
4. The United States as a Responsible Member of the Global Community: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness When Militarized 5. Prostitution Matters; K. Christine Pae
6. Living Sustainably toward Social Justice: Asceticism Revisited; Paula M. Cooey
7. 'Dead in the Water….Again': Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in the 21st Century; Teresa Delgado
8. Welcome to the Great American Middle Class: From the American Dream to Deep Solidarity; Joerg Rieger
9. Political Theology as Reflection on the Arts of Liberatory Politics; Mark Lewis Taylor
10. Naming What We Want: Thoughts on Religious Vocabulary and the Desire for Quality of Life; Anthony B. Pinn
11. Redeeming Equality: Life, Liberty and Alternatives to Obliviousness; Mary McClintock Fulkerson
12. The Political Divide; Stephanie Y. Mitchem
13. Revitalizing U.S. Civil Society by Reconceptualizing Civil Religion and its Virtues; Rosemary P. Carbine
Conclusion: Latinas and Latinos Understanding of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness; Ada María Isasi-Díaz

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