To Serve God and Mammon

Church–State Relations in American Politics

Second Edition

Ted G. Jelen

"An important work on church-state relations in a changing society, but I also recommended it for anyone broadly interested in U.S. politics."
+ Add to Cart Preorder


Request Print Exam Copy

Request Digital Exam Copy

Newly revised and updated, To Serve God and Mammon is a classic in the field of religion and politics that provides an unbiased introduction and overview of church–state relations in the United States.

Jelen begins by exploring the inherent tension between the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment. He then examines how different actors in American politics (e.g., the courts, Congress, the president, ordinary citizens) have different and conflicting values that affect their attitudes and actions toward the relationship between the sacred and the secular. Finally, he discusses how the fragmented nature of political authority in the United States provides the basis for continuing conflict concerning church–state relations.

This second edition includes analyses of various recent court cases and the implications of living in the post–9/11 era. It also features discussion questions at the end of each chapter, a glossary of terms, and synopses of selected court decisions bearing on religion and politics in the United States.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition

Preface to the First Edition

1. The Religion Clauses
Competing Religious Values

2. The Uses of History

3. Debating the Public Role of Religion
The Protagonists

4. From Christian America to Free Exercise
The Changing Nature of Church-State Relations

5. The Future of the Church-State Debate

Selected Supreme Court Decisions





"An important work on church-state relations in a changing society, but I also recommended it for anyone broadly interested in U.S. politics."—Sociology of Religion

"To Serve God and Mammon is one of those rare books that is useful to scholars and students at all levels. . . . The book is balanced and thoughtful, with enough details of specific issues to grab the interest of students, and enough discussion of principles to educate them."—Clyde Wilcox, Department of Government, Georgetown University

"The second edition of To Serve God and Mammon is theoretically sound, fair-minded, and engaging. Scholars, students, and the general public will find Ted Jelen's cogent discussion of church–state relations in the United States to be insightful and useful. The second edition builds upon the outstanding first edition, demonstrating how church–state relations are changing in response to dramatic events such as 9/11 and longer-term demographic trends."—James M. Penning, Calvin College

"To Serve God and Mammon provides a thoughtful, insightful, and very readable account of church–state politics in the United States. With this timely second edition Jelen does an excellent job incorporating developments of the last decade, such as the salience of Islam in American political life, the development of federal faith-based initiatives, and the growing levels of religious diversity in the U.S. This book is highly recommended."—Elizabeth Anne Oldmixon, University of North Texas

"In this book, Ted Jelen offers readers a clear and concise guide through the swamp that is religion and politics in America. Combining personal reflections with a mastery of the scholarly literature, To Serve God and Mammon highlights the ways that religious diversity complicates traditional notions of 'church' and 'state,' and helps readers think critically about the road ahead for American religious politics."—Andrew Murphy, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

"To Serve God and Mammon stands out from a crowded field of church–state studies. By emphasizing the importance of political as well as legal factors, growing religious diversity in the United States, and tension between the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment, Jelen offers a unique take on an important subject. There is no finer introduction to the fascinating, frustrating, and tangled web of problems that religion poses for American law and vice versa."—Kenneth D. Wald, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Florida


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Ted G. Jelen is a professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is currently the coeditor of the journal Politics and Religion, and the former editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

208 pp., 6 x 9
Mar 2010

208 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-1-58901-637-8
Mar 2010

208 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-58901-655-2
Mar 2010

Religion and Politics series
John C. Green, Ted G. Jelen, and Mark J. Rozell, series editors

Related Titles