American Grace

In American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell explore the patterns of United States religious observance, diversity, and tolerance. Citing examples of the transforming public face of religion in America—namely recent litigation surrounding religious markers on public land and, since John F. Kennedy’s presidency, the mainstreaming of Catholic political candidates—Putnam and Campbell sense that “something has changed” over the past half century in American religious life. Naming a dual change—greater religious polarization and increased religious pluralism—Putnam and Campbell seek to explore how these seemingly oppositional transformations have come to be.

Here, scholars reflect on American Grace, its descriptive as well as its normative claims, and consider the extensive empirical research from which Putnam and Campbell draw their arguments.