Religion in US Culture and Society

The study tour started in Washington D.C. since the capital is a focus of activities centering on the federal government. The students then went to Virginia, where they visited a fundamentalist organization (American Values) and two research institutes. From there, the tour went on to Nashville, Tennessee within the “Bible Belt” and eventually to liberal New England. There students traced the roots and remains of the Puritan heritage (Congregationalism), as well as learned of the impact of the Catholic Church, and the importance of church-affiliated schools.

Throughout the study tour, the students met with representatives of major denominations as well as church-affiliated politicians, constitutional experts on state-church relations, and academics knowledgeable about the role of religion in America’s past and present. They also visited church-related organizations, such as interest groups, think tanks, media, and neighborhood services, and attended church services of contrasting groups, like a Catholic as well as an Baptist African-American church service.