Is Religion Still a Private Matter? Jose Casanova's Theory of De-privatiztion and the Evangelical Community 35 Years Later
In the 1980s Jose Casanova wrote a book called Public Religions in the Modern World. He noticed that, although religion was seen a private matter for some time, it was now becoming more de-privatized, which he believes was strongly compelled by the rise of the Moral Majority. Moreover, Talal Asad, also, agrees that religion is definitely not disappearing but becoming more identifiable in the public realm. Casanova's theory contends that the privatization and the de-privatization of religion appeared to be happening simultaneously. Assuming Casanova is correct, it is now approximately 35 years later and the question is "where are we now in the process of the de-privatization of religion?" I chose to use the Evangelical Community as an example due to the fact that the majority of people that live in the United States are very familiar with this particular religion. It has become evident that the Evangelical Community has had a strong voice in the political arena. Focusing mainly on politics and using Billy and Franklin Graham as a lens, who have been both visible and influential in the process of the de-privatization of religion, I try to determine where the United States is in this process. I look at how the Grahams see God fitting into politics and how each of them views their participation in politics. In addition, I utilize present-day examples of what, both, the privatizing and de-privatizing of religion looks like while examining some areas that religion has been asserted into the public sphere. Moreover, I discuss the role of the secular in relationship to religion. Finally, I conclude with answering the question, "is religion still a private matter?"