New Book Offers Road Map for Overcoming Political Polarization Using the Example of Peace Corps Founder Sargent Shriver

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Lucy Di Rosa, Sargent Shriver Peace Institute | +1-646-207-0319

Spiritualizing Politics without Politicizing Religion: The Example of Sargent Shriver provides insights for overcoming political divisions in our society.

NEW YORK – The Sargent Shriver Peace Institute (SSPI) announced today that a new book about its namesake, Spiritualizing Politics without Politicizing Religion: The Example of Sargent Shriver, could offer a road map for overcoming the political and cultural polarization that exists in contemporary society. The book’s authors, SSPI Executive Director Jamie Price, and co-author Kenneth Melchin, argue that the political, social, and cultural divisions tearing at the fabric of our society today reflect a profound absence of spiritual values in public life.

Price and Melchin point out that universal spiritual values such as humility, compassion, and service create opportunities to deepen understanding, overcome conflict, reduce human suffering, and build lasting peace regardless of faith, creed, color, or ideology. Through their analysis of Sargent Shriver’s work, they uncover the ways in which the Peace Corps founder infused these same spiritual values into public service, creating human-centric institutions that broke down barriers and served people across lines of difference.

A liberal Democrat who believed in the separation of Church and State, Shriver also led with his spiritual values during his career as a public servant. He maintained that all human beings were deserving of dignity and justice, that there was more uniting us than dividing us as human beings, and indeed, that we are all interconnected, no matter our identity or religious faith. These beliefs fueled his successes during what was unquestionably another era of political division: the 1950s and 1960s in the United States. From the racial desegregation of public and parochial schools in Chicago, to the creation and the growth of the Peace Corps, and the development of the agencies of the War on Poverty, Shriver managed to create enduring social change in the face of significant political opposition.

Spiritualizing Politics without Politicizing Religion: The Example of Sargent Shriver focuses on one of the major figures of 20th century, but its goal is to demonstrate how all of us can overcome political polarization in our own communities by infusing our politics with values that allow us to look at each other as individuals with hearts, minds, hopes, challenges, and ambitions, who share one, remarkable, human experience.

Spiritualizing Politics without Politicizing Religion: The Example of Sargent Shriver is available directly from the publisher, University of Toronto Press, and at major booksellers in the US and Canada.

JAMES R. PRICE is the Executive Director of the Sargent Shriver Peace Institute.

KENNETH R. MELCHIN is a professor emeritus in Theology and Director of the Lonergan Centre at Saint Paul University.

Publication Date: May, 2022Hardcover | ISBN: 9781442642522| $45.00

Peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in common as human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us.
Sargent Shriver
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