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Date of Award

Fall 1998


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Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Master of Public Administration


While the existence of a civil religion is widely accepted, there is still debate over it's specific content¹. This study addresses the specific content of civil religion as expressed through the inaugural addresses of the Presidents of the United States, and finds: 1) the general content of American civil religion has remained consistent over the last 200 years, 2) the tenants of that religion have been expressed through direct Biblical imagery or imagery analogous to the Bible, 3) the religion's development over time supports Robert Bellah's interpretation of American civil religion as a part of a "universal reality" 4) American civil religion as expressed by the inaugural addresses has transitioned from an "established" tradition to a "sectarian" tradition, 5) Civil Religion will become increasingly important to public administrators as the public sphere becomes more accommodating of individual spirituality while at the same time trying to balance the constitutional separation of church and state.