Using an evidenced-based, social-scientific approach to religion Kenneth D. Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown challenge the perception that religious influence in American politics is a problem to be solved. Contending that religion is a form of social-identification that shapes the ideas about politics we entertain, the behavior of political elites and ordinary citizens, the interpretation of public laws, and the development of government programs the authors show how religion plays a fascinating and crucial part in our nation's political process and in our culture at large. Now in its eighth edition, Religion and Politics in the United States has been fully updated with material from current scholarship to cover recent American politics and elections. Organized thematically, this text serves to I. establish a framework for studying the relationship between religion and politics; II. evaluate the contribution of religion to core American values and the design of American government; III. explore religious forces in politics, and IV. discuss the religious right, center, and left as well as the impact of religion on the fight for equality based on gender and sexual orientation. With the addition of pedagogical features such as discussion questions and further readings by chapter, this authoritative text is accessible and student-friendly for all religion and politics courses.