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Does Democracy Need a Church?
Citizen University is taking the idea of democracy as a faith one step farther than most
The Background: Last week I introduced the idea that democracy is not a system, but a faith: a commitment to a certain set of beliefs and principles.
One of you asked if I’d come across Civic Saturdays. I had not but was intrigued. It is/was Citizen University’s effort to put together a church service—music, sermons, “civic scripture,” call and response—dedicated not to a religion but to democracy itself.
Civic Saturdays doesn’t seem to have taken off yet; Citizen University’s last Citizen Saturday YouTube post was ~8 months ago. But what a worthy experiment! And here are a couple of links worth your time:
A 2022 interview with Citizen University founder Eric Liu, and in particular this quote: “Optimism is a spectator’s posture. Hope implies agency. Hope says I have something to do with the outcome.”
Check out their resources, including "Five Opportunities to Level Up Your Civic Skills.”
See this Britannica entry on democracy, and especially the section on Dewey’s view of public education as the “church of democracy.”
Image credit: “A democratic indignation meeting,” by Kepler, borrowed from the Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmsca.28576/.