Fred Glennon, Ph.D. (Courses)
Professor (RH 216)
Department of Religious Studies
Le Moyne College
Syracuse, New York 13214 
(315) 445-4343

REL 314-01

(PSC 314-01)

Church and State in Comparative Perspective

Spring 2017 Location:  RH 338 T/TH 11:30-12:45pm; May 17-June 1, 2017 Location:Florence, Italy
(click here for Facebook page:Le Moyne in Italy 2017)
(click here for 2017 Italy Itinerary)
(click here for video students made to discuss 2013 trip)

Course Description and Objectives

Methods of Instruction


Office Hours

Student Responsibilities and Rights


Learning Covenant Guidelines

Activity Options

Course Reading and Assignment Schedule

Florence Information


Mission Statement:  Le Moyne College is a diverse learning community that strives for academic excellence in the Catholic and Jesuit tradition through its comprehensive programs rooted in the liberal arts and sciences. Its emphasis is on education of the whole person and on the search for meaning and value as integral parts of the intellectual life. Le Moyne College seeks to prepare its members for leadership and service in their personal and professional lives to promote a more just society

Course Description: This course looks at the relationship between church and state, religion and politics, in historical and comparative perspective.During the fall semester, the course will provide students with an overview of the history of church-state relations beginning with medieval notions and moving quickly to the American context and a review of the judicial decisions on the establishment of religion and the free exercise of religion.  The course will also explore the power of religious groups in the political process:  how religious interests are mobilized, the nature of religion and political action, and the connection between religion, politics, and public opinion.  In May 2017 (for those part of the travel component), the course will move to Florence, Italy where we will explore the relationships between church and state in Italy from the time of the Renaissance to the present with a focus on the Vatican and the writings of Popes Benedict the XVI and Francis (click here for itinerary from 2015 class).

Core Learning Outcomes to be met:Religious Inquiry; Reading, Writing, and Literacy.Institutional Learning Outcomes to be met:Academic Excellence, Jesuit Identity, and Diversity
Departmental Learning Outcomes to be met:Religion and Culture, Political and Ethical

Specific Learning Outcomes:By participation in and successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

1.      Discuss intelligently the evolution of the relationship between the church and the state in comparative perspective (knowledge/comprehension);

2.      Discuss intelligently the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the various ways it has been interpreted by the courts and the people (knowledge/comprehension);

3.      Understand and appreciate the ways religion contributes to the basic political values that citizens share (comprehension/affective):

4.      Analyze and evaluate various perspectives on current religious freedom issues;

5.      Clarify and develop their own perspective on the appropriate relationship (s) between religion and politics (synthesis/application);

6.      Develop further their research, analytical, and written and oral communication skills (synthesis/application);

7.      Enhance their skills at working cooperatively with others on various task in a group context (affective); and

8.      Take an active role in and responsibility for their learning.

Methods of Instruction: The content of the course will be covered by lectures, group discussions and presentations, audio-visual presentations, structured reading and writing assignments, and other media depending upon student interest and involvement.

Required Texts and Other Readings: The following required texts are available in the bookstore:

         Feldman, Noah.  Divided by God:  America's Church-State Problem--And What We Should Do About It (Farrar, Straus and Giroux (June 2006).

         Wexler, Jay.  Holy Hullabaloos:  A Road Trip to the Battlegrounds of the Church/State Wars (Beacon Press, 2009).

In addition, I will place other required readings in electronic formats on reserve on Canvas.  Reference is made to these readings in the course schedule.

Office Hours: I will be in my office at the following times: T/TH 10-11:15; Wed., 2:30-3:30. If these times are not convenient, see me to make other arrangements. Come by if you have any questions related to the course.  

Student Responsibilities and Rights: Students have the responsibility for sharing in and contributing to the learning process. This responsibility includes developing a learning covenant (see attached), reading assigned material prior to class, participating actively in group process, class presentations and discussions, completing written assignments on time, and evaluating and suggesting positive directions for the class. In fulfilling these responsibilities, the student has certain rights. These include a right to voice an opinion that is based on a self-chosen value system, a right to dissent or differ from the professor or from others in the class, a right to papers and tests returned at a reasonable time, access to the professor at hours other than class time, and a right to know the grading system.

Evaluation: Student evaluations will be based on successful completion of assigned and self-chosen activities. The assigned activities include group participation (75-100 points) and a group final project (75-100 points). The remaining 200-250 points of the student's grade will be determined on the basis of the student choosing from a menu of activities (see the learning covenant guidelines and activity options under Course Materials button).  The grading scale will be as follows:

For College grading policies, including grievance policies for grades, please refer to the College Catalog


Course Grading Scale












































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Canvas: The bulk of the materials for this course will be distributed through the use of Canvas at Le Moyne. To access these materials, just point your Internet browser to The course will be listed under Spring 2017, REL314-01-SP17 (PSC314-01-SP-17). Students who are enrolled in the course already have access to the course and just need to register their password for the course. I will use the email given to you by the school (your Le Moyne account) as the official means to communicate with you.

Tentative Course and Reading Schedule: The daily class schedule can be found in an html document on the Canvas course site under Syllabus page and also by clicking on the "Course Reading and Assignment" link above. Students should consult the file frequently in order to be apprised of any changes in the schedule. All changes made by the instructor in this file will be considered official.

Learning Covenant and Activity Options: Also on Canvas, you will find two files related to the Learning Covenant and Activity Options. These files describe the teaching philosophy and approach to this class and the various ways students can be evaluated.

Web Page: The web page for this course is and it includes all the basic information for this course--the syllabus, the tentative course and reading schedule, links to the learning activity guidelines and activity options, and links to other web sites that are useful for discussions about the relationship between church and state, religion and politics. 

Special Needs: In coordination with the Academic Support Center  (ASC), located on the first floor of the Noreen Reale Falcone Library, reasonable accommodations are provided for qualified students with disabilities. Qualified students should register with Mr. Roger Purdy, (, Director of Disability Support Services (445-4118 [voice] or 445-4104 [TDD]), for disability verification and determination of reasonable accommodations. After receiving the appropriate form from the ASC, students should meet with the instructor to review the form and discuss their needs. Students should make every attempt to meet with the instructor during the first week of class so that accommodations can be implemented in a timely manner.

Students with Personal Problems: Students who encounter personal problems of any kind, especially problems that might affect their academic performance, are encouraged to contact the Wellness Center for Health and Counseling. The Center is located in Romero Hall; appointments may be arranged by phone at 445-4195. The Center provides both individual and group counseling on a strictly confidential basis. The professional staff is also available on an emergency basis.

Sexual Misconduct:  Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender is a Civil Rights offense subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, etc. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find the appropriate resources here:  Le Moyne College Sexual Misconduct Resources

Policy on Academic Honesty:  Academic dishonesty (plagiarism, cheating) undermines the trust between instructors and students and among students themselves.Such dishonesty is the attempt to fulfill a course requirement by representing as your own the intellectual property (ideas, words, or work) of another person (living or dead; professional writer or student) found in print or electronic sources, even with the personís permission. Please note that this definition includes paraphrasing anotherís work: if you read it somewhere, cite it. As a member of an intellectual and academic community, you are obliged to acknowledge the source of phrases and ideas that are original to someone else.The minimum penalty is failure of the assignment but could lead to failure of the course.In addition, I will report the incident to the Dean of Arts and Sciences who may decide to take further disciplinary action.A second act of academic dishonesty during your career at Le Moyne often results in expulsion from the college (Academic Standards). You may access the LeMoyne site on plagiarism at: Landmark Citation Machine is an excellent resource for students.This website will format any type of citation into MLA or APA style.