The Liberal Uses of Religion


What’s God Got To Do with
the American Experiment?
Edited by E. J. Dionne, Jr. and John J. DiIulio,
Jr. Brookings. 188 pp. $16.05 paper.


The editors of this intriguing
collection of essays have asked prominent social scientists, pastors, mayors,
activists, and theologians to address themselves to the question of the proper
relation between religion and politics. The collection grew out of meetings
at the Brookings Institution that discussed work on religion and civic life
and the alleviation of poverty through partnerships of government and faith“based
organizations (FBOs).


To many Americans, of course““especially
intellectuals““inquiry into a possible partnership between the federal government
and religious organizations will seem either unnecessary or suspicious. Few
things appear more fundamental to our liberal democracy than the strict separation
of church and state. But as James Q. Wilson notes, despite or rather because
of the First Amendment, there has never been an easy answer to the question
of the proper relation between the two. Neither the framers of that Amendment
nor the subsequent (and incoherent) attempts by the courts to interpret it allow
us to say that it bans “nondiscriminatory government aid to all religions generally.”
Nor has our political practice““from daily congressional prayers to army chaplains
to federal grants for students in religious colleges““simply been one of strict
separation. Finally, as Melissa Rogers notes, both major party presidential
candidates in the 2000 election strongly endorsed the Charitable Choice provision
of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, which prohibits government from discriminating
against nonprofits on the basis of their religious nature and thus opens the
way for partnerships between government and religiously oriented social service
organizations.


As these essays make clear, moreover,
it is not altogether surprising that our political order has never been able
to resolve the issue of the proper relation between religion and political life,
and hence that there is a need to examine it more closely. For the standard
liberal position on that matter, presented here with unusual clarity by Alan
Wolfe, is inherently problematic. Wolfe asserts that “faith is a private matter
between an individual and his or her God.” But because he is aware of the close
relation that has always obtained between moral virtue and religion, Wolfe realizes
that in order to exclude religion from public life, he must defend public life
as constituting “a zone of amoral Machiavellianism” for us. “Such Christian
virtues as humility and charity” in our political leaders “may make us proud,”
he claims, but our survival depends on “duplicity, dishonesty, even disrespect
for human life.” These vices are even “duties” for our public leaders. Goodness
and ruthlessness are theoretically incompatible, but we allow them to coexist
by means of our private/public distinction: you are free to be as good as your
religion demands in the private sphere, and as ruthless as we need you to be
in public.


The difficulty with Wolfe’s argument,
as Jean Bethke Elshtain rightly points out, is that public Machiavellianism
corrupts the “trustworthiness and legitimacy” upon which democracy relies. For
trustworthiness, which is central to the just or virtuous life, is needed precisely
when it is not clearly in one’s interest to abide by an agreement or
duty. Yet if self“interest trumps virtue, as a public Machiavellianism would
hold, then virtue should be pursued only when, and to the extent that, it serves
our interest. (For this reason, one cannot even admit, as Elshtain unfortunately
does, the necessity of Machiavellianism in those extreme cases when there is
“an unusual or serious threat” to our interests.)


If religion and politics are
in this way driven together, one could imagine the liberal responding, perhaps
a secular morality could drive them back apart. Why should revealed religion
be the source of our citizens’ moral guidance? The contributors to this collection
make their most valuable arguments in response to this question. Some, like
Indianapolis’ former mayor Stephen Goldsmith, discovered over time that “true
urban strength can only be built on values,” and found faith“based organizations
to be the most effective “value“shaping organizations.” FBOs are therefore “infinitely
more capable of handling neighborhood problems than government is.” And social
science has confirmed that “religion, independent of social class, reduces deviance.”
John J. DiIulio, Jr.’s social“scientific explanation for this remarkable civic
effectiveness of religious faith is that through community outreach, religious
organizations provide “positive structured activities” supported by “responsible
adults,” and play a role as agencies “of local social control” and as allies
“in the battle against social pathology.” But““leaving aside progressives’ likely
objection to terms like “deviance,” “positive,” “responsible,” and “control”““one
could argue that Boys and Girls Clubs could perform these same functions. What,
precisely, causes religion to contribute so successfully to the formation of
moral character, while secular organizations fail at it?


The most serious answer is suggested
in a foreword by economist Glenn Loury. Explaining his late“discovered interest
in religion, Loury notes that theories stemming from “purportedly scientific
study of society . . . omit any consideration of what most makes us human““our
awareness of our own mortality and our fitful, uncertain, often unsuccessful
attempts to give our lives some meaning that just might transcend our pitifully
brief existence.” Loury likewise notes the “anti“deterministic character” of
religious thought and action““its claim that we have the freedom to change our
lives, that we can “be moved to make enormous sacrifices on behalf of abstract
goals.” Jim Wallis’ essay connects Loury’s two points:


Faith communities . . . can
reestablish a sense of ethics and values . . . . [They] offer people the practical
opportunities to love their neighbor, serve their community, contribute to a
larger purpose, and sacrifice for something worth believing in . . . . Only the
Church has the moral authority and the vocabulary to introduce transcendent
concepts of personal worth and the sacredness of life that will . . . inspire
responsibility on a personal level . . . . Members of faith communities can be
motivated to act on more than just their own self“interest but rather on the
basis of the deeply held spiritual and moral values that undergird their faith.


Religion, as James Q. Wilson
notes, makes people unsettled with or anxious about their selfish and contradictory
selves. The commands of an unfathomable, if just, God remind human beings of
something they already sense““that they are leading immoral lives““so that they
“finally feel they ought to do something about them.” Religious believers come
to see their lives as striving to respond to a gift that remains disproportionate
to whatever they might be able to accomplish on their own. Hence one can understand
why, from a strictly secular political standpoint, religion is so effective
in transforming lives, and why among FBOs “the more spiritually demanding programs
. . . produce the best results.” Secular programs, aimed at strictly worldly
ends, seek solutions in worldly means or institutions; they fail to appeal to
our deepest longings and the sense of worth or desert born of those longings.
FBOs induce guilt; secular programs, viewing guilt merely as one more form of
human suffering, seek to eliminate it.


To promote moral virtue for
strictly political or secular ends, then, liberal democracy needs religion and
has in fact always relied upon it““a reliance that even Thomas Jefferson noticed.
(He judged the many religious communities in tolerant states like New York and
Pennsylvania “all good enough” to achieve this secular end.) Yet precisely this
political use of revealed religion points to a great and long“standing divide
in American life. Serious religious believers will object to having their faith
reduced to a mere means to secular ends. They recognize that their opponents
will assume (as did Jefferson) that if another, better means can be found to
make citizens orderly, then revealed religion, that leftover from the dark age
of “monkish superstition and ignorance,” can and should be dispensed with.


A belief in the progress of the
human mind has competed for some time now with belief in Divine Providence.
Jefferson’s Enlightenment hope in progress continued among America’s intellectuals
in the nineteenth century thanks to German Idealists, including Marx, who outlined
the prospect of a fully rational, atheistic society brought about by impersonal
historical forces. Despite the lessons of the twentieth century and the emergence
of postmodernism, that hope still beats in the hearts of many American intellectuals.
As a result, they remain, as almost all contributors to this volume note, either
indifferent to or hostile to religion. To members of mainstream American media
educated by those intellectuals, conservative religious believers are parochial:
hicks, country bumpkins, yahoos, rednecks, the great unwashed.


Although in their Introduction
DiIulio and E. J. Dionne, Jr. are silent about the source of this long“standing
rift in America, they are confident that the rift, or rather its most recent
manifestation, can now be overcome. As Dionne argues in a separate essay, an
American “consensus on values” existed prior to the 1960s, but its destruction
by liberals caused hitherto apolitical evangelicals to unite with conservative
Catholics in a political fight against the new “culture of disbelief.” With
the exhaustion of both parties in the resulting “culture wars,” however, a “new
consensus” or “third wave” is now emerging. The two old antagonists, secular
progressives and religious conservatives, are becoming more accommodating or
accepting of one another.


The essays in this volume
are intended to encourage this “third wave,” primarily in two ways. One way
is to have religious conservatives (Cal Thomas, Ed Dobson, Peter Wehner) warn
their brethren away from the siren song of political change; religious conservatives
should aim at transforming individuals one at a time, not at reforming nations.
The other way is to have religious progressives inform their more secular comrades
that many religious people are thoroughly “progressive,” and to argue that even
evangelicals are progressive in deed if not always in word. So Richard Parker
notes that “the Methodists’ vision [on the economy] is much more progressive
than anything emanating from Democratic Party platforms,” and W. Bradford Wilcox
and John P. Bartkowski argue that the evangelicals’ approach to family life
is “in many ways more progressive” than that of most Americans. In short, the
political threat from the religious right is fading, evangelicals are becoming
part of mainstream progressive America, and religious progressives““an overlooked
part of that America““are still strongly engaged in it. It’s time for secular
progressives to call a truce, these essays argue, and allow the government to
form a partnership with FBOs for the sake of our desperately disadvantaged citizens.


Significantly, readers are given
no argument warning religious progressives to stay out of politics, or
inviting unremittingly conservative religious groups to remain involved in it.
For behind and informing the editors’ optimistic analysis of an emerging “third
wave” is the fact that they themselves, at least on the evidence of this book,
are religious progressives, believing that “religion’s finest hours have been
the times when intense belief led to social transformation.” The standard they
use in judging religions is not the salvation of souls for an eternal and exalted
destiny, but this“worldly success, or “progress.” How they or any religious
progressives manage to synthesize a modern, secular faith in progress with religious
faith may be gleaned from Patrick Glynn’s essay. Glynn claims that there have
been “great leaps of progress in Western politics,” a “progressive awakening
of conscience” due to the progressive application of an ever more “Christian
moral standard to political life.” Based on Christianity, the West has “sought
to bring life in the earthly city more in line with values of the heavenly city.”
Dionne and DiIulio wish to insure that it continues to do so.


Odd as it may seem, the success
of their attempt to call off the culture wars will depend in part on their ability
to persuade secular progressives and religious conservatives that Glynn’s thesis
is correct““that modern liberal political thought grows out of and marches hand“in“hand
with Christianity. (The recent political union of conservative Catholics and
evangelical Protestants, we note, depended in part on the Catholic embrace of
a version of this thesis found in the thought of John Courtney Murray.) There
is considerable reason to doubt that they will be able to do so. For while there
is no denying a Christian influence on Western political life, Glynn’s thesis
is far less evidently true. To many students of political philosophy, in fact,
modern liberalism is emphatically not Christian, but part of a broad Enlightenment
design to bring about the quiet atrophy of religious faith.


The contributors to this volume
are familiar with a recent version of this alternative understanding of modern
liberal politics and the Enlightenment: the “secularization theory” of sociologists.
As Richard Parker explains, sociologists find that “urbanization, industrialization,
scientific explanation, and consumer culture” have always been accompanied by
a loss of religious faith. But the more interesting form of this argument can
be found long before the advent of sociology, industrialization, or the full
flowering of the commercial republic. It is present in Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu,
Constant, Turgot, and many others. Their radical aim in promoting the establishment
of the liberal, commercial, industrial society was the destruction of the transcendent,
in political or religious forms. This was in turn part of their attempt to overcome
the threat posed to science or philosophy from the possible existence of an
unfathomable God.


To those who understand the Enlightenment
in this way, religious progressives will appear as the unwitting first harvest
of the radical Enlightenment. Hence, while Parker may complain that “America’s
progressive religious community [is] for the most part ignored by those who
like to think of themselves as progressive,” this studied or embarrassed silence
of secular progressives about their religious cousins is not hard for others
to understand. After all, progressives embrace the secular prospect of achieving
happiness on our own in a world bereft of divine care, while the devoutly religious
look back to our sinful fall from the well“watered garden in which a beneficent
God placed us. To secular progressives, as well as religious conservatives,
religious progressivism appears to be an oxymoron. And they might be right.
While religious progressives like Parker speak of “the connection between justice
and the divine,” they explain this as the religious progressives’ call to “witness
for more than immediate or personal advantage” and their willingness “to fight
for a world beyond this parsimonious age of ours.” These statements, while still
vaguely religious, suggest secular inroads on traditional Christian beliefs.


To bolster their claim that biblical
faith, far from being the target of the Enlightenment, is the deep source of
all that is good in the modern world, the religious progressives in this collection
are compelled to note that America has proven to be an “exception” to secularization
theory. Surveys show, for example, that far more of us are “churched” now than
in 1776, and that “our country is the most religiously vibrant in the world.”
Parker, appealing to his fellow progressives, goes so far as to note that even
Marx noticed that Americans were different. Parker quotes from “On the Jewish
Question”: “We find that [American] religion not only exists, but displays a
fresh and vigorous vitality.” As secular progressives know, however, Marx did
not applaud this fact. He saw the vitality as somewhat bogus, since the privatization
of religion, the cause of this result, was already producing a boutique religiosity.
What Marx objected to was that it was still religiosity at all; a product of
alienation, it would end only with the end of alienation, the triumph of atheism
in the proletariat revolution.


More significantly, in a short
but valuable essay Richard N. Ostling warns that the alleged American exceptionalism
is skin deep: over time, “long“established Protestant denominations tend to
become more liberal in doctrine,” and the old Fundamentalist institutions (like
Bob Jones University) die out. So too the post“Vatican II Catholic Church has
become “a federation of internally divided quasi“denominations.” Above all,
younger Americans are “increasingly detached from traditional Christian concepts”
(as, we might add, are young Jews from orthodoxy). If they weren’t half“secularized
themselves, religious progressives would be more aware that secularization is
proceeding apace in America.


The arguments of other contributors
help us to see the breadth of such secularization in America, and hence why
the division between religious faith and progressivism is not so easily overcome.
The problem is most visible in the social sciences, upon which so much of our
public policy and our social services have come to rely. Glenn Loury, for example,
reminds us that “until social science takes . . . [the religious] aspect of
the human drama with the utmost seriousness,” it will not do justice to its
subjects or will be unscientific. Yet one could wonder whether Loury himself,
who speaks of “the process of belief construction ” and of humans as “ generators
of meaning,” is not failing to do justice to his subjects. Thoughtful religious
believers, after all, must find these terms blasphemous. And the terms might
well be traced back to the early modern scientific attempt to “construct” a
world so that it could be known without any recourse to an unfathomable God
of revelation. In any event, like so much contemporary social science jargon
(the self, identity, culture, mindset, values, ego, etc.), the terms Loury uses
have become part of social science’s deliberate attempt to explain in strictly
immanent terms (and hence to explain away) what religious believers hold to
be not merely a human creation, but divinely revealed truth.


The professionalization of social
work during America’s progressive era entailed adopting the findings, and hence
the jargon, of the social sciences. As a result, the work of caring for human
and social needs became deeply secular in character if not intention. As Ram
Cnaan and Gaynor I. Yancey point out, social work was soon “distanced from faith“based
services.” The goal of social workers became the elimination of all suffering;
their characteristic virtue is now “humanity,” not Christian charity““the virtue
of Princess Di, not of Mother Teresa. In churches, by contrast, as Jim Wallis
argues, the organizing style is “covenental,” not “contractual.” That is, the
goal of their outreach programs is not external to the virtuous activity (which
would make that activity a mere means); rather the virtuous deeds (and not
an end to all suffering) are themselves the ends.


This is particularly so, of
course, in conservative churches. As Cnaan and Yancey discovered, in politically
and theologically liberal churches cutbacks in government spending prompted
the creation of social programs. In conservative churches, by contrast, such
cutbacks didn’t spur such programs; the programs were already in place, owing
to the parishioners’ desire to “witness their faith.” Liberal churches act to
take up the slack in social services until they can convince government to restore
them. Not wishing to hold the disadvantaged responsible for their plight, they
understand their own work not as a divinely imposed responsibility, but as an
act of humanity. Their eyes are on the ends (wiping out poverty), not on the
virtuous activity itself. They prefer what Melissa Rogers calls “a communal
sharing of burdens,” and object to an emphasis on the “personal responsibility”
that all virtue requires. The adoption of professional social work by mainstream
Protestant churches has secularized them. And this has not gone unnoticed by
conservative churches.


Among those who call it to our
attention in this collection are Ronald J. Sider and Heidi Rolland. Their essay
not only offers the most powerful challenge to progressive secularists and half“secular
religious organizations, but in doing so points to one way in which the editors’
“third wave” might be brought about: through the capitulation of the secular
Enlightenment. Sider and Rolland argue in favor of the Charitable Choice section
of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act by arguing against the second part of the Supreme
Court’s Lemon test. That test, which requires that in their primary effects
statutes neither advance nor inhibit religion, has put pressure on religious
agencies receiving public funds “to secularize their programs,” leaving the
more strictly religious programs bereft of funding. The result, claim Sider
and Rolland, is that “the pervasively sectarian standard has . . . constituted
a genuine, though more subtle, establishment of religion, because it supports
one type of religious worldview while penalizing holistic beliefs.”


This grave and apparently bizarre
claim may make perfect sense to members of religious organizations who have
seen their cash“strapped outreach programs suffer while more secularized programs
like Catholic Charities feed freely at the government trough. Others (especially
those unfamiliar with the recent “equal treatment” literature) will need to
have the charge explained. Sider and Rolland accordingly argue that secularists
have an implicitly religious or “quasi“religious perspective.” Strictly secular
programs, they claim, “are not religiously neutral.”


Implicitly, purely “secular”
programs convey the message that nonreligious technical knowledge and skills
are sufficient to address social problems such as low job skills and single
parenthood. Implicitly, they teach the irrelevance of a spiritual dimension
to human life. Although secular programs may not explicitly uphold the tenets
of philosophical naturalism and the belief that nothing exists except the natural
order, implicitly they support such a worldview. Rather than being religiously
neutral, “secular” programs implicitly convey a set of naturalistic beliefs
about the nature of persons and ultimate reality that serve the same function
as religion. Vast public funding of only secular programs means government bias
in favor of one particular quasi“religious perspective, namely, philosophic
naturalism.


At present, when government funding
goes to religious organizations with outreach programs, the funding compels
religious organizations to half embrace this secular faith““to adopt the view
that “people may need God for their spiritual well“being, but that their social
problems can be addressed exclusively through medical and social science methods.”
Implicitly, “such a worldview teaches . . . a particular understanding of God
and persons, by addressing people’s social needs independently of their spiritual
nature.” This particular religious outlook compartmentalizes God and spiritual
nurture. Hence, “limiting government funds to allegedly ‘secular’ programs actually
offers preferential treatment to one specific religious worldview.” It excludes
more traditional or conservative religions from government funding. The latter,
which Sider and Rolland call “holistic faith“based” agencies,


operate on the belief that
no area of a person’s life, whether psychological, physical, social, or economic,
can be adequately addressed in isolation from the spiritual. Agencies operating
out of this worldview consider the explicitly spiritual components of their
programs”used in conjunction with conventional secular social service methods”as
fundamental to their ability to achieve the secular social goals desired by
the government.


By requiring the secularization
of faith“based social programs, the Lemon test has brought about an establishment
of religion. The authors believe Charitable Choice will restore religious neutrality,
allowing funds to flow to all religious and quasi“religious worldviews.


Sider and Rolland’s argument
is, to be sure, not without its difficulties. They claim that for holistic faith“based
agencies, “no area of a person’s life . . . can be adequately addressed in isolation
from the spiritual.” It is hard to see how any activity can escape being called
“inherently religious” for such an organization. Yet the authors claim that
such agencies will not use government money “for inherently religious activities.”
This means that, if they are honest, holistic faith“based agencies will never
use government money. And it is hard to gainsay Melissa Rogers’ concern that
enforcing Charitable Choice’s safeguards against sectarian preference will bring
about unconstitutional “church“state entanglements.”


But these difficulties fall away
if the authors are correct in their use of the equivocal term “religious worldview.”
For if “philosophic naturalism,” either in its full“blown explicit variety or
in the variety that is accepted by religiously affiliated but inherently secular
agencies, is indeed “religious” or “quasi“religious,” then science or philosophy
is not what it claims to be. It is based not on reason but on faith. This, indeed,
is the claim of Sider and Rolland: “That nothing exists except the natural order”
is “the belief” of secular philosophic naturalists. If modern philosophic naturalism
is indeed a belief, Sider and Rolland’s case against current practice as constituting
“establishment of religion” is irrefutable. If secularists wish to refute their
claim, they will have to do something that none of their intellectual habits
have prepared them to do. They have for a long time now ceased to examine their
fundamental assumption that a secularized, humanized, demystified, non“transcendent
world is one that can fully satisfy human beings, who need only security from
violent death, sufficient material goods, mutual reciprocal recognition, and
psychological therapeutics to be fully content.


But as the contributors to this
volume point out, there is compelling evidence to suggest that the secular world,
from its affluent suburbs to its inner“city neighborhoods, is not satisfying,
and is destructive of a genuine humanity. Secular progressives, with their faith
in progress now made seriously questionable by what is daily before their eyes,
must set aside all their old saws about religious superstition and ignorance,
all their moralistic sneering, and face again the question: Why should
science or reason be our guide? If they cannot answer this fundamental question““if
they are reduced to saying that they have a faith in reason““then they
will have to grant that these two authors are perfectly justified in claiming
that our First Amendment jurisprudence has been “supporting one type of religious
worldview.” They would then have no ground for opposing a new partnership between
religious organizations and government. The Enlightenment will have capitulated
to religious faith.


The alternative way for Dionne
and DiIulio’s “third wave” to emerge, of course, would be for religious conservatives
to become secular by becoming “progressive.” Is this in the cards? The editors
point with understandable hope to the change among conservative religious believers
on matters of civil rights, as conservatives came to realize that racial and
gender inequality did not correspond to the message of the gospel. But as the
editors are compelled to note, “many who welcome the prophetic role of the churches
in movements to abolish slavery, promote civil rights, and secure social justice
are skeptical of applying religion’s prophetic voice to matters such as abortion,
sexuality, or family life.”


This is indeed the new flashpoint
of the old struggle; if the mayor of Cincinnati relies on religions to “teach
our youth about citizenship, civility, charity, and a host of other values,”
what happens when those “other values” include obedience, humility, and chastity?
As Cnaan and Yancey gently put it, “Some of the religious groups that provide
social services adhere to values that are not popular and can be offensive to
some groups.”


The editors do not say how this
matter will be resolved. They surely do not believe that progressives will become
convinced that in the 1960s liberation was erroneously extended to sexual
matters, that the dynamic of liberation mysteriously halts there. A restoration
of “pre“sixties consensus on values” would seem “reactionary” to a progressive.
Liberation rests on the premise that the moral or ethical rules by which we
live are a mere means to the security and comfort required for the individual’s
subjectively held version of the good life. It was therefore only a matter of
time before the demand to relax or throw off restraints on “victimless crimes”
found enough intellectual proponents to make it a political reality.


Are religious conservatives,
then, to adopt looser sexual mores, abortion on demand, and a new understanding
of the family? That too is unlikely, since such a change would differ in kind
from their adoption of the agenda of the civil rights movement; it would require
conservatives to adopt the sovereign autonomy of the individual. It is of course
possible that religious conservatives will do so.


This prospect is limned in Wilcox
and Bartkowski’s article on the egalitarian, “progressive” tendencies of evangelical
families. Evangelical men, it seems, are “empathetic and affectionate” husbands
and “warm, expressive” and “involved” fathers. Since the authors believe these
qualities originated with Dr. Benjamin Spock, they find their appearance among
evangelicals significant. They attribute it to feminist pressures and to “an
outgrowth of the increasingly therapeutic character of American evangelicalism
more generally,” i.e., the attempt to serve every imaginable psychological need
of members. This may be so, though Tocqueville noted the tendency toward informal,
affectionate, and egalitarian family relations in American democracy’s families
long before Dr. Spock ever called for them. It may also be, as Wilcox and Bartkowski
claim, that a change in evangelicals’ familial behavior was facilitated by a
recent rhetorical shift: “The ideal of male authority has evolved from one of
‘headship’ to ‘servant“leadership.’” But this “discursive innovation” appears
to have begun some two thousand years ago.


Perhaps it will do some good
for our intellectual class to hear that those whom they have been demonizing
for so long are very different from their nightmares. More significant would
be the adoption by religious conservatives of the vocabulary in which that secular
message is delivered, for it would redefine the standards for the religious
believer: “good” would then have become whatever is “progressive.” Should this
occur, religious conservatives will not only change their understanding of human
sexuality. They will also come to be proud to have the mayor of Baltimore explain
how he turned the clergy of his city into lobbyists for a needle exchange program.
They will beam when the mayor of Indianapolis explains how his city “outsources”
its poverty programs to their churches. Religious conservatives will at long
last have become important players in the modern progressive project. Whether,
when they have thus forgotten eternity, or exchanged it for secular recognition,
we will all be better off is, of course, another question. It is the great virtue
of this collection to have made that question, which lies at the heart of the
culture wars, clear to its readers.



Timothy Burns is Assistant
Professor of Government at Skidmore College.