BLOOMSBURG— Eric C. Miller, assistant professor of communications studies at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania recently edited a collection of essays in his new book, “The Rhetoric of Religious Freedom in the United States.”
Miller’s new book is a collection of 12 individual essays from 12 different authors that approach questions of religious freedom in contemporary political debates. The contributors examine how advocates from a variety of traditions use liberal ideographs in their public arguments.
Miller describes an ideograph as a term that is “so full of ideological power that people respond automatically to it when they hear it.” Terms such as “freedom,” “liberty,” and “rights” are used in religious arguments to persuade even secular individuals that the religious view serves the public good.
According to Miller, “It’s about the way religious arguments draw on shared national values to appeal to the general public.”
The book’s chapters are made up of essays about certain issues where different religious groups have had a standpoint. One chapter is about the difference in the interpretation of “freedom” between mainline and evangelical Protestants. Another chapter addresses Donald Trump’s presidential campaign strategy and rhetoric differing between audiences with different demographics.
Each chapter draws its own conclusions about how the rhetoric is used in that case. The book certainly sheds light on many of the ways rhetoric is used in religious arguments in particular, however Miller says, “I wouldn’t say the book has one overarching conclusion.”
“The Rhetoric of Religious Freedom in the United States is available for pre-order at this time.
Miller earned his Ph.D. from Penn State University, a master’s degree from the University of Maine, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh. This is his fifth year teaching at Bloomsburg University.
Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 9,600 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.