American History

After Hobby Lobby: What is Caesar's, What is God's?
Moore DL. After Hobby Lobby: What is Caesar's, What is God's?. The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School [Internet]. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

As prelude to the 2015 Petrie-Flom Center Annual Conference, “Law, Religion, and Health in America,” this pre-conference session held on May 7, 2015 at the Harvard Law School examined the role of religion in the American public sphere. Our expert panel discussed the nature of conscience and conscientious objection, religious freedom, and religious accommodation from philosophical, theological, historical, legal, and political perspectives.  This video features Professor Diane L. Moore's presentation. See here to view the entire forum.


  • E. J. Dionne, Jr., Columnist, The Washington Post; Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

  • Diane L. Moore, Senior Lecturer on Religious Studies and Education and Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School

  • Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

  • Frank Wolf, Representative, Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, U.S. House of Representatives, 1981-2015 (retired)

  • Moderator: Daniel Carpenter, Freed Professor of Government, Harvard University and Director, Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University 

  • Moderator: I. Glenn Cohen, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and Faculty Director, Petrie-Flom Center

Remarks by Martha Minow, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

How 'One Nation' Didn't Become 'Under God' Until the '50s Religious Revival
Kruse K. How 'One Nation' Didn't Become 'Under God' Until the '50s Religious Revival. Fresh Air with Terry Gross [Internet]. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

An interview with Princeton Professor Kevin Kruse on his 2015 publication entitled One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America. In this interview, Kruse tells the story outlined in his book about how corporate business leaders in the 1930s joined with influential Christian leaders to challenge New Deal policies as a form of "Pagan Stateism" and inherently sinful.  Instead they argued that Christianity and capitalism were "soulmates" and mutually reinforcing.  

The Beauty and Diversity of Muslim Life
Tariq B. The Beauty and Diversity of Muslim Life. TED talk [Internet]. 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Bassam Tariq is a blogger, a filmmaker, and a halal butcher — but one thread unites his work: His joy in the diversity, the humanness of our individual experiences. In this charming talk, he shares clips from his film "These Birds Walk" and images from his tour of 30 mosques in 30 days — and reminds us to consider the beautiful complexity within us all.

Religious Freedom and Democracy
Religious Freedom and Democracy. Facing History and Ourselves; 2014.Abstract

Shortly after the Constitution had been ratified, President George Washington traveled with luminaries (including then Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson) to Newport, RI. where they were greeted by local leaders.  Among them was Moses Seixas, the warden of the Hebrew Congregation of Newport who read a letter celebrating the establishment of a government “which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance” in light of centuries of Jewish exile.  President Washington responded days later with an eloquent affirmation of those aspirations: “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support”. This is a packet of resources and lesson plans for teachers prepared by Facing History and Ourselves

Guidelines for Teaching About Religion in K-12 Public Schools in the United States.
Moore DL. Guidelines for Teaching About Religion in K-12 Public Schools in the United States. The American Academy of Religions [Internet]. 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Contrary to popular opinion, religion is embedded in state standards across the K–12 spectrum and is especially prominent in English and social studies curricula. In spite of this fact, very few educators have been trained in the religious studies methods required to teach this content responsibly. This fifty-page document is divided into four main sections that address: 1) Why teaching about religion is important; 2) The distinction between a devotional approach to religion and a non-devotional religious studies approach appropriate for public schools; 3) How to teach about religion with a variety of approaches, pedagogical strategies, and “snapshots” of classroom practices across the K–12 spectrum; and 4) The content and skill competencies required for teachers to teach about religion in intellectually sound ways. The document also includes endnotes, a bibliography of works cited, and appendices that offer additional practical resources and suggestions. 

The Man Who Wrote the Pledge of Allegiance
Jones JO. The Man Who Wrote the Pledge of Allegiance. Smithsonian Magazine [Internet]. 2003. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Tells the story of the origins and development of the Pledge of Allegiance.  Originally penned by an ordained Baptist minister named Francis Bellamy to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Columbus in the New World in 1892, the original version did not contain the phrase "under God" or any religious reference.