Is The U. S. A Religious Nation?

Recently, there have been more articles making the case that liberal branches of Christianity are on the ascendency.

It is apparent that each generation in the U. S. is less religiously conservative than the previous one.  Yet, the there is no way to predict that religious ideas will be dominated by the left.

Even though there is a lot of difference between Christians and among the many faith practices in the U. S., the left seems more scattered and uncohesive than the right.  As generations pass, it may well be that the right will become even more homogeneous and the left less.  Thus, when “religion” is referred to, it would be easier for the press to portray it as the religious right.

My experience, however, has led me to think the future of religion in the U. S. will be not only a struggle between the Christian right and left, but among many different faiths.  I still marvel at how many religious texts were given me as gifts in this small midwestern city.  There were a dozen or so.  Surely, there are more religions in the City now than there were during my time as Mayor.

I  don’t see evidence nonChristian people are less patriotic than Christians.  But, it will be interesting to observe how religious people who are not Christian generalize about religion in the U. S.

Will they refer the U.S. as a “religious nation” as conservative Christians have done? Or, will they find the term “religious nation” a code phrase for discrimination against their faith?

19 Responses

  1. I have observed that the United States is definitely more secular in policies that reflect religious belief. I am old enough to remember that you used to be asked on just about every form you had to fill out in life what your religion was. It was mandatory on admittance to hospitals, schools and jobs. You couldn’t just opt out of supplying that information. I remember once being scolded for refusing to answer that question at a hospital with the admitting clerk insisting she had to know what my religion was. Finally I said “Lutheran” because that had at one point in my life been somewhat true. That same question is now asked as a preference question that can be answered “none”. What does that say about our country? I guess it means that society generally is willing to accept that some people have no religion and that is OK.

    1. Wanna B Sure

      I too have noticed the religion question on hospital forms. Didn’t think much of it as being more than SOP in the event of unexpected (or expected) complications, where a counselor may be beneficial for the patient. (Who wouldn’t want a pastor/counselor of the same persuasion when desired/necessary). In fact, I specified the name of my personal pastor in the event things went bad, and they hand wrote it between the lines on the form. I would get concerned if the same questions were asked on a work order to have my car or furnace serviced .

      1. I have no problem with patients supplying that information if they want to. My point is it used to be mandatory with a presumption of “protestant” as the fall back answer being supplied by hospital personnel. I had that happen once as well.

    2. Michael Ross

      When I was in the military (1968-72) the closest reply for an atheist to the question of one’s religion was “no preference”. I think that is still the case. Bradley Manning’s dog tags stated the he is a “humanist”, but he had to have those custom made.

  2. Jinx

    A number of our Founding Fathers were Deists who believe that a god created the earth/universe/whatever and then she has no further involvement since. Some of the founders were athiest.

    2 “slogans” were added to our culture in the 50’s I believe: “In God We Trust” on money and “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegience. The perceived threat of Communism, heighted by WI Senater “Tailgunner” Joe McCarthy’s (sp) witchhunt is what brought about such changes. I would hope we are becoming more secular and accepting of the differences in others.

    PS Don’t hold me to the letter of the law, I wrote this from memory!

    1. Wanna B Sure

      Did a quick Google on “In God We Trust”
      Put on coins 1864

      Put on paper 1957 McCarthy’s influence was gone by 1954 after the Congressional Censure. Died 1957 humiliated.

      The “Under God” in the Pledge was included in 1954 with Eisenhower Pres. But promoted much earlier including Truman. The Wikipedia article did not mention McCarthy’s involvement.

      In 4th stanza of “Star Spangled Banner”; (“In God is our Trust”) 1812 (National Anthem of USA)

      “In God We Trust”; Used by Pennsylvania Infantry, Antietam-Civil War-1862

      1. “McCarty’s influence was gone by 1954”

        Don’t think so. Just because he was discredited, a vast number of people were sure that the communists were at our door. The movement he had begun was not over by a long shot and jinx is correct about the impetus of the phrase going on our money. The heyday of the John Birch Society was in high gear during the late fifties and early sixties. McCarthy may have been dead, but his followers were everywhere including North Dakota.

        1. Wanna B Sure

          So McCarthy was influential in the coinage of 1864, and The Star Spangled Banner of 1812. Didn’t see where he had any influence on Truman, a Democrat.

          1. realist 10;32 My understanding is all that stuff was put on our currency as a part of anti communist politics of the 50’s. Communists were seen as not Christians so why not show them up with “under God” in the pledge and God on our currency.

          2. Wanna B Sure

            And here you are defending Jinx’s #2 @ 7:15 ; “Added to the culture,” (when it was already there, ” as mentioned in my 8:08.

          3. I know, Jon. Just trying to convince WannaB. One of the advantages of age is that a person can remember the context of historical events as they occurred. One of the few advantages…:)

          4. Wanna B Sure

            Jon @ 2:26; Re. “All that stuff”; (In God We Trust”). On paper money. I can agree with that. I can also agree that was the same motivation for the “Under God” in the pledge.
            However, It was not new. I refer you to my 9:18.

            Alright, now let’s everybody sing the 4th verse of The Star Spangled Banner. Written 1812/14. Officially used by Navy 1889–Congressional resolution 1931, (before communist threat).

        2. Wanna B Sure

          Oops; Forgot to mention the Penn. infantry usage of “In God We Trust”,during the Civil War battle at Antietam. McCarthy was there too I guess.

    2. Wanna B Sure

      My point is re. @ 7:15 ; “1 “slogans” were added to our culture in the 50’s I believe; “In God We Trust” on money…”. History proves the “slogan” was present as early as 1812-1862-1864, (“added to our culture”). We do consider coinage and paper currency as money.

      I have on several occasions indicated clearly that I don’t believe it is appropriate on money, with the separation of church and state. Ask Jon if you don’t believe me. When the “Under God” was added to the Pledge, I thought it was rather clumsy and unnecessary, and I continue to believe that.

      Whether McCarthy was involved or not in later events is not my point.

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