Religion in the USA

  1. Why is US one of the most religious nations than other industrialized nations?
    • Creation Myth: Us views itself as being distinct form the rest of the world, having a deep relationship with God ("City on a Hill"
    • Civil Religion: We are constantly bombarded with religious imagery within the public and political scene.
  2. Why are there so many religions in USA
    • "Free market for religion", never had its own formal state religion
    • Several "Great Awakenings"
    • Rise of "Fundamentalism" and Pentecostalism in response to scientific skepticism among the mass society as well as elite mainline protestant denominations
  3. What are key features of fundamentalists and how do they affect a fundamentalist's role in politics?
    • Premillenialist view of the world: the belief that the Bible is the literal Word of God. The world is only going to get worst to the point of no return. Cynical view.
    • Dispensationalism: belief that God dealt with people through different eras and we currently live in the last covenant.
    • Separatism: tendency to avoid mainline protestants, other non fundamentalists and the secular world. *note that this occurred in waves over the course of history
    • Scopes Trial: Fundamentalist leader was humiliated, thus humiliating the entire fundamentalist sect
    • Great Reversal: pulled away from society/politics until Roe v Wade
  4. How does the 1st amendment state religion?
    "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"
    • Establishment Clause: "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion
    • Free Exercise Clause: "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"
  5. what are the two ways of looking at the Establishment Clause?
    • Accomodationist: believes that Congress cannot create a national religion, but can be involved - giving them the power to prefer one religion over another
    • Separationist: believes in strict separation of Church & State. In Fed. 10, it lists religion as a faction (dangerous). Thus any gov't enforcement of religion violates the establishment clause
  6. What are two ways of looking at the Free Exercise Clause?
    • Libertarians (not the same as the political party): any religious expression is ok as long as there is no harm. Mill approach
    • Communitarians: religious freedoms can be limited by community norms.
  7. How does the Free Exercise clause and the Establishment clause relate to preferentialists and nonpreferentialists
    • preferentialists: those who want gov't to prefer a certain religion
    • nonpreferentialist: those who think that all religious groups have an equal place in the public sphere
Card Set
Religion in the USA
why is america still a very religiously centered nation despite "separation of gov't"